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Marine Radio

operators handbook

Australian Maritime College

Australian Maritime College 2002


ISBN 0 644 29418 3
First published for the Postmaster-General's Department 1969
Revised edition 1971
Published for the Department of Communications 1978
Revised editions 1981, 1984
Revised edition for the Department of Transport and Communications 1987
Reprinted April, June 1988
Reprinted 1990
Reprinted 1991
Revised edition 1992
Revised edition for the Spectrum Management Agency 1993
Revised 1993
Revised 1996
Revised edition for the Australian Communications Authority 1998
Revised Dec 1998
Reprinted June 1999
Revised April 2000
Revised edition for the Australian Maritime College 2002
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be produced by any
process without prior written permission from the Australian Maritime College (AMC). Requests and inquiries concerning
reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Manager, Department of Maritime Communications, Australian Maritime
College, PO Box 986, Launceston Tasmania 7250.
Cover page layout and design by Kate Maynard
Inside page layout and design provided by the Australian Communications Authority
Produced by the Department of Maritime Communications
Australian Maritime College

Foreword
This handbook is intended for the guidance of radio operators:
(a)

on Australian vessels which are compulsorily fitted with marine


radiotelephony, marine radiotelephony with digital selective calling
capability, and/or Inmarsat satellite communications, in accordance with
State or Territory government legislation; or

(b)

on Australian vessels which are voluntarily fitted with marine


radiotelephony, marine radiotelephony with digital selective calling
capability, and/or Inmarsat satellite communications; or

(c)

at limited coast stations, particularly those operated by marine rescue


organisations.

It is the recommended textbook for candidates undertaking examination for the


Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP), the Marine Radio
Operators VHF Certificate of Proficiency (MROVCP), and the Marine Satellite
Communications Endorsement.
Procedures and requirements outlined in the handbook are based on the
International Radio Regulations formulated by the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU), on provisions governing the use of radio
transmitters in Australia laid down in the Radiocommunications Act 1992, and
on radiocommunications station licence conditions set by the Australian
Communications Authority (ACA).
Careful observance of the procedures covered by this handbook is essential for
the efficient exchange of communications in the marine radiocommunication
service, particularly when the safety of life at sea is concerned. Special attention
should be given to those sections dealing with distress, urgency and safety.
It should be noted that no provision of this handbook, the International Radio
Regulations, or the Radiocommunications Act 1992 prevents the use by a
vessel in distress of any means at its disposal to attract attention, make known
its position and obtain help.
Similarly, no provision of this handbook, the International Radio Regulations, or
the Radiocommunications Act 1992 prevents the use by vessels engaged in
search and rescue operations of any means at their disposal to assist a vessel
in distress. This edition of the Marine Radio Operators Handbook reflects the
new arrangements for maritime communication stations from 1 July 2002.
These arrangements include substantial changes to the frequencies monitored
by these stations for distress and safety, and changed requirements for ships
wishing to participate in the AUSREP reporting system.
It also contains information about Global Maritime Distress and Safety System
(GMDSS ) marine communications techniques which are available for small
vessels in Australia. The system uses advanced technology and automation to
ensure that search and rescue authorities, as well as ships in the vicinity of an
emergency, are alerted reliably and rapidly. Both satellite and terrestrial
communications form essential components of the GMDSS.
The ACA and the Australian Maritime College acknowledge the contribution of
the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the Bureau of Meteorology, Telstra, and
the Governments of the States and the Northern Territory in the preparation of
this Handbook.

iii

Contents
CHAPTER 1
General
.............................................................page
Section 1 Ship Station Operators .................................2
Section 2 Use of Ship Radio Stations ..........................7
CHAPTER 2
Maritime Communication, Coast Radio and Limited
Coast Stations....................................................... page
Section 3 Maritime Communication Stations..............14
Section 3a State and Northern Territory HF (Coast
Radio) and VHF Stations............................17
Section 4 Limited Coast Stations................................19
Section 5 VHF Marine Repeaters ..............................21
CHAPTER 3
Operating Procedures for Routine
Communications................................................... page
Section 6 General Information....................................24
Section 7 Routine Calling and Replying
Procedures for Radiotelephony .................27
Section 8 Monitoring of Radiotelephony
Frequencies (Watchkeeping)......................30
CHAPTER 4
Distress, Urgency and Safety
Communications using Radiotelephony............ page
Section 9 Priority Calls ...............................................32
Section 10 Alarm Signals .............................................33
Section 11 Distress Communications...........................34
Section 12 Urgency and Safety Signals.......................41
CHAPTER 5
Digital Selective Calling Communications .......... page
Section 13 General Information....................................46
CHAPTER 6
Public Correspondence Communications .......... page
Section 14 Radiotelegram Service...............................60
Section 15 Radphone Services ....................................61
Section 16 VHF Radiotelephone: Auto Seaphone .......62
Section 17 Radiotelex Services....................................65

CHAPTER 9
Marine Radiocommunication Equipment........... page
Section 23 Types of Marine Radio Equipment............82
Section 24 Radio Propagation......................................84
Section 25 Component Parts of
Marine Radio Equipment............................87
Section 26 Transceiver Controls ..................................89
Section 27 General Care and Maintenance
of Marine Radio Equipment ......................92
Section 28 Care and Maintenance of
Lead Acid Batteries ....................................94
Section 29 Faults on Marine Radio Equipment ...........99
CHAPTER 10
Information for Vessels
Proceeding Overseas .............................................page
Section 30 General Information..................................102
CHAPTER 11
Inmarsat Systems and Equipment...................... page
Section 31 General Information..................................108
Section 32 Inmarsat-A Ship Earth Stations ................110
Section 33 Inmarsat-C Ship Earth Stations ................112
Section 34 Enhanced Group Calling ..........................116
Section 35 Inmarsat-M Equipment .............................119
Section 36 Inmarsat-E EPIRBs ..................................119
APPENDIXES......................................................... page
1 Qualifications Examination Syllabi ........................122
2 Suggested Format for Radio Log Book ................127
3 Frequencies for Use by Ship Radio Stations ........128
4 Phonetic Alphabet and Figure Code.....................133
5 Standard Marine Navigational Vocabulary............134
6 Contact details ......................................................136
7 Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations ...................137
Index

........................................................139

CHAPTER 7
Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons page
Section 18 General Information ...................................68
Section 19 121.5/243 MHz EPIRBs.............................70
Section 20 406 MHz EPIRBs.......................................73
Section 21 Care and Maintenance of EPIRBs.............75
CHAPTER 8
Search and Rescue in Australia.......................... page
Section 22 General Information....................................78
v

General

Chapter One

Section 1 Ship Station Operators


1.

Operators' Qualifications

1.1

Australia is a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).


This body regulates radio frequency usage, and the operations and use of
radiocommunications equipment on a world-wide basis.

1.2

Operators of ship stations other than those operating exclusively in the 27


MHz marine band, must possess a certificate of proficiency issued in
accordance with ITU regulations and the Australian Radiocommunications Act
1992, or a certificate considered to be of an equivalent or higher standard. The
minimum requirements for operators on vessels other than those subject to the
Commonwealth Navigation Act 1912 are:

Equipment carried on vessel

Minimum operator qualifications

VHF marine radiotelephony


ONLY (with or without digital
selective calling facilities)

Restricted Radiotelephone Operators


Certificate of Proficiency OR

3rd Class Commercial Operators


Certificate of Proficiency OR

Marine Radio Operators Certificate of


Proficiency OR

Marine Radio Operators VHF


Certificate of Proficiency

VHF marine radiotelephony


(with or without digital selective
calling facilities) PLUS
MF/HF marine radiotelephony
(with or without digital selective
calling facilities)

Restricted Radiotelephone Operators


Certificate of Proficiency OR

3rd Class Commercial Operators


Certificate of Proficiency OR

Marine Radio Operators Certificate of


Proficiency

VHF marine radiotelephony


(with or without digital selective
calling facilities) PLUS
Inmarsat A, B or C satellite
communications

Restricted Radiotelephone Operators


Certificate of Proficiency with Marine
Satellite Communications
Endorsement OR

3rd Class Commercial Operators


Certificate of Proficiency with Marine
Satellite Communications
Endorsement OR

Marine Radio Operators Certificate of


Proficiency with Marine Satellite
Communications Endorsement OR

Marine Radio Operators VHF


Certificate of Proficiency with Marine
Satellite Communications
Endorsement

Continued/...

Equipment carried on vessel

Minimum operator qualifications

MF/HF marine radiotelephony


(with or without digital selective
calling facilities) PLUS
Inmarsat A, B or C satellite
equipment OR
VHF marine radiotelephony
(with or without digital selective
calling facilities) PLUS
MF/HF marine radiotelephony
(with or without digital selective
calling facilities) PLUS
Inmarsat A, B or C satellite equipment

Restricted Radiotelephone Operators


Certificate of Proficiency with Marine
Satellite Communications
Endorsement OR

3rd Class Commercial Operators


Certificate of Proficiency with Marine
Satellite Communications
Endorsement OR

Marine Radio Operators Certificate of


Proficiency with Marine Satellite
Communications Endorsement

Inmarsat A, B or C satellite equipment


ONLY

Restricted Radiotelephone Operators


Certificate of Proficiency with Marine
Satellite Communications
Endorsement OR

3rd Class Commercial Operators


Certificate of Proficiency with Marine
Satellite Communications
Endorsement OR

Marine Radio Operators Certificate of


Proficiency with Marine Satellite
Communications Endorsement OR

Marine Radio Operators VHF


Certificate of Proficiency with Marine
Satellite Communications
Endorsement

1.3

Operators on vessels which are subject to State or Territory legislation should


ensure that they are qualified under that legislation.

1.4

Provided the ship radio station is under the control of a person holding a
relevant certificate, persons other than the holder of the certificate may
operate the equipment.

1.5

Operators of ship radio stations using equipment operating exclusively in the


27 MHz marine band are exempt from operator qualification requirements.
However, in the interests of safety, the Australian Communications Authority
(ACA) strongly recommends that these operators qualify themselves with at
least the Marine Radio Operators VHF Operators Certificate of Proficiency.

1.6

Operators of limited coast stations using VHF and/or MF/HF marine bands are
required to hold a certificate of proficiency. The minimum qualification is
relevant to the equipment fitted at the station and is as shown in paragraph
1.2

1.7

Holders of the Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Certificate of Proficiency


(RROCP), and the earlier 3rd Class Commercial Operators Certificate of
Proficiency will continue to be legally qualified even though their
radiocommunications equipment may incorporate digital selective calling
facilities. However such persons will need to additionally qualify for the Marine
Satellite Communications Endorsement if operating Inmarsat types A, B or C
equipment.
3

1.8

Operators on small vessels which are compulsorily equipped with radio


equipment under the provisions of the Commonwealth Navigation Act 1912
are required to hold a minimum of the General Operators Certificate of
Proficiency issued by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). Further
details of this qualification may be obtained from any AMSA office.

2.

Examination for the Marine Radio Operators Certificate of


Proficiency, the Marine Radio Operators VHF Certificate of
Proficiency, and the Marine Satellite Communications
Endorsement

2.1

Currently examination and certification services for the two certificates and the
satellite endorsement are provided through the Australian Maritime College on
behalf of the Australian Communications Authority. In this handbook, the
Australian Maritime College will be referred to as the AMC, and the Australian
Communications Authority as the ACA.

2.2

Syllabi for the two certificates and the satellite endorsement are shown In
Appendix 1 of this handbook. Paragraphs or part paragraphs containing
information on which examination questions may be based are followed by a
symbol as follows:

Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP) !

Marine Radio Operators VHF Certificate of Proficiency (MROVCP) "

Marine Satellite Communications Endorsement (Satcom) #

2.3

An examination will normally consist of a written exercise.

2.4

At the discretion of the AMC, candidates may undertake an oral rather than a
written test.

2.5

The AMC will only issue the Marine Satellite Communications Endorsement to
a successful candidate providing the following conditions are met:
(a) that the candidate already holds one of the following certificates of
proficiency:
-

Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Certificate of Proficiency

3rd Class Commercial Operators Certificate of Proficiency

Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency

Marine Radio Operators VHF Certificate of Proficiency

First Class Commercial Operators Certificate of Proficiency

Second Class Commercial Operators Certificate of Proficiency

Radiocommunications Operators General Certificate of Proficiency

An overseas qualification considered by the ACA to be an


equivalent of one of the above;

(b) that this certificate is submitted to the AMC with the candidate's
examination papers; and
(c) that the candidate is sixteen years of age or over.
Alternatively:

(a) that the candidate is successful at an examination for the Marine


Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency or the Marine Radio
Operators VHF Certificate of Proficiency; and
(b) that the candidate's examination papers from this examination are
submitted to the AMC at the same time as the candidate's
examination papers for the Marine Satellite Communications
Endorsement; and
(c) that the candidate is sixteen years of age or over.
2.6

Candidates for the Marine Satellite Communications Endorsement who have


lost the certificate of proficiency needing to be endorsed may submit an
application and fee for a replacement certificate at the same time as sitting for
the Endorsement. The Endorsement will not be issued if no record can be
found of the certificate to be replaced. Paragraphs 3.4 to 3.9 provide more
information about replacement of certificates.

2.7

Persons wishing to upgrade their qualification must contest the entire


examination relevant to the desired certificate. 'Conversion' examinations are
not available.

3.

Candidate Eligibility and Replacement of Operators Certificates

3.1

Candidates of all ages will be accepted for examination. Certificates of


proficiency and endorsements will be issued to successful candidates.

3.2

As current legislation does not permit the issue of a certificate of proficiency to


a candidate under the age of sixteen, successful candidates who have not
reached this age at the time of examination will be issued with their certificate
shortly after their sixteenth birthday. Under-age candidates who successfully
contest the Marine Satellite Communications Endorsement will not be
provided with the Endorsement until eligible to be issued with a relevant
certificate of proficiency.

3.3

All candidates should be prepared to produce proof of identity and age at the
time of examination.

3.4

If an operator's certificate or endorsement is lost, mutilated or destroyed, or a


change of name has occurred, the holder may obtain a replacement by
making written application to the AMC.

3.5

In the case of loss or destruction, the application must be accompanied by a


statutory declaration setting out the circumstances of the loss. The statutory
declaration must also contain a statement that, if the original certificate or
endorsement is subsequently found, it will be returned to the AMC.

3.6

Statutory declarations must be signed in the presence of, and witnessed by


any person prescribed in the relevant Commonwealth legislation. In most
circumstances, statutory declarations can be signed and witnessed at an ACA
regional office.

3.7

Where issue of a replacement certificate or endorsement is required because


of damage or change of name, the original certificate or endorsement should
accompany the application. In the case of change of name, documentary
proof of the change should be included; for example, a marriage certificate or
deed poll document.

3.8

A fee is charged for the replacement of a certificate or endorsement.

3.9

It is in the interests of candidates applying for a replacement for a lost


certificate or endorsement to provide information regarding the place and
approximate date of original issue.

4.

Application for examination

4.1

An application to be examined for a certificate or endorsement can be made to


the AMC.

4.2

Examinations for the Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency and the
Marine Radio Operators VHF Certificate of Proficiency are conducted by
appointment and may be held at any location suitable for examination
purposes. Many marine rescue organisations, boating clubs and colleges of
technical and further education (TAFE) conduct examinations on behalf of the
AMC. In special circumstances examinations may be held at ACA offices.

4.3

Examinations for the Marine Satellite Communications Endorsement cannot be


conducted at an ACA office and are only available at organisations with
suitable Inmarsat equipment available for training.

4.4

Examination fees are charged.

5.

Operator Training

5.1

Many marine rescue organisations, boating and fishing clubs, maritime


colleges and some colleges of technical and further education (TAFE) provide
training courses leading to the Marine Radio Operators Certificate of
Proficiency and the Marine Radio Operators VHF Certificate of Proficiency.

5.2

Some maritime and TAFE colleges provide training courses leading to the
Marine Satellite Communications Endorsement.

5.3

The ACA regional offices or the AMC may be able to provide information about
local training organisations.

5.4

Persons using this handbook as a study guide should note that much of its
content is non-examinable. Careful reference should be made to the detailed
examination syllabi shown in Appendix 1.

Section 2 Use of Ship Radio Stations


6.

Ship Station Licences

6.1

Under the Radiocommunications Act 1992, the operation of marine radio


equipment aboard any Australian vessel must be authorised by a licence.

6.2

In the case of shipboard radio equipment operating in the 27 MHz and VHF
marine bands, this authorisation is provided to any person by means of a
maritime ship station class licence. The class licence does not have to be
applied for and is free of cost. The maritime ship station class licence also
authorises the operation of ship's radar equipment and on-board UHF marine
communications equipment.

6.3

Frequencies authorised for use, technical and general requirements for the
operation of 27 MHz, VHF, radar and UHF on-board marine equipment are
shown in the Radiocommunications (Maritime Ship Station - 27 MHz and
VHF) Class Licence 2001. Operators of this equipment are legally obliged to
observe the conditions set out in this document. !" Copies of the Class
Licence may be obtained from the ACA's Internet site (http://www.aca.gov.au)
or from any ACA regional office.

6.4

The operation of shipboard Inmarsat satellite radio terminals is authorised by


another class licence. The class licence is free of charge and does not need
to be issued individually.

6.5

Technical and general requirements for the operation of shipboard Inmarsat


terminals are shown in the Radiocommunications (Communications with
Space Object) Class Licence 1998. Operators of this equipment are legally
obliged to observe the conditions set out in this document. Copies of the
Class Licence may be obtained from the ACA's Internet site
(http://www.aca.gov.au) or from any ACA regional office

6.6

The operation of shipboard radio equipment operating in MF/HF marine bands


is not authorised by a class licence. Individual apparatus licences that attract
a fee are required.

6.7

Application for a MF/HF ship station (class B) licence may be made in person
at any ACA regional office. Alternatively, a completed application form together
with the licence fee may be submitted by mail or through the ACA's on-line
licensing service.

6.8

A MF/HF marine licence shows the station licensee, the name and the call
sign of the vessel. Frequencies authorised for use, technical and general
requirements are detailed in the ACA's Radiocommunications Licence
Conditions (Maritime Ship Licence) Determination. The station licensee is
legally obliged to observe licence conditions set out in this document. !
Copies of the Determination may be obtained from the ACA's Internet site
(http://www.aca.gov.au) or from any ACA regional office.

6.9

By mutual agreement, a MF/HF ship station (class B) licence may be


transferred from one person or organisation to another person or organisation.
However, restrictions may apply where the original licence holder is exempt
from licence fees or pays a concessional licence fee. Further information and
applications for transfer are available at any ACA regional office. A fee for
licence transfer applies.

6.10

A MF/HF ship station (class B) licensee should contact the ACA if:

a new vessel with radiocommunications equipment is purchased; or

there is a change of the licensee's address.

6.11

Operators of shipboard radio equipment operating in the VHF and MF/HF


marine bands, and operators of most Inmarsat satellite radio terminals are
required to hold appropriate personal qualifications. Details of the minimum
qualification requirements are shown in paragraph 1.2

6.12

Neither class licences nor a MF/HF ship station (class B) licence authorises
the operation of a "home base". Except in special cases, marine radio
equipment in private residences will not be authorised by the ACA. !"

7.

Licensing of Other Shipboard Radiocommunication Equipment

7.1

The Radiocommunications Act 1992 requires that the possession and


operation of all radio transmitters are authorised by a licence. Licences are not
required for the operation of satellite navigation receivers (GPS).

7.2

Amateur band transmitting equipment installed on a vessel must be licensed


separately. Licences for Amateur band equipment will not be issued to any
person who does not hold an appropriate Amateur operator's certificate of
proficiency.

7.3

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), mobile phones and


Citizens Band (CB) transceivers aboard vessels are authorised by class
licences issued under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 and do not require
individual licensing.

8.

Authority of the Master

8.1

A ship radio station and the service it provides is placed under the authority of
the master or skipper, or the person responsible for the safety of the vessel. !"

9.

Inspection of Ship Stations

9.1

ACA officers may ask that a ship radio station be made available for inspection
to ascertain that licence conditions are being met.

9.2

Licensees of vessels travelling overseas should be aware that the competent


authorities in any country where the vessel may visit, can require to inspect
the ship station licence and the radio qualification of the operator. Failure to
produce these documents may result in an inspection by these authorities to
satisfy themselves that the radio station conforms to the requirements of the
International Radio Regulations. Licensees of vessels proceeding overseas
carrying 27 MHz, VHF and Inmarsat marine radio equipment should carry a
copies of the relevant class licences.

10.

Secrecy of Communications

10.1

Under the International Radio Regulations, an operator and any other person
who becomes acquainted with the contents of a radiotelegram, radiotelephone
call or radiotelex call is placed under an obligation to preserve the secrecy of
such information. !"

10.2

Secrecy restrictions do not apply to distress, urgency or safety alerts or


messages, or any message that is addressed to "all stations". !"

11.

Distress Calls

11.1

The obligation to accept distress alerts, calls and messages is absolute and
such messages must be accepted with priority over all other
radiocommunications.

12.

False or Deceptive Distress, Urgency or Safety Signals

12.1

The transmission of false or deceptive distress, urgency or safety signals is


strictly forbidden. Extremely severe penalties, including imprisonment, exist
under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 for any person found guilty of
making such a transmission. !"

13.

Unnecessary Transmissions

13.1

Transmissions should be as brief as possible consistent with the legitimate


requirement for which a station is licensed. Non essential remarks, bad
language and unnecessary conversations should be avoided.

13.2

It is an offence under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 to use a transmitter


in a manner that is likely to cause a reasonable person to be seriously
alarmed or affronted, or for the purpose of harassing a person. !"

14.

Log Keeping

14.1

Operators should keep a record of all distress alerts and messages


transmitted or received. Particulars should include the station or stations with
which the messages were exchanged, the frequencies used and the date and
times of transmission and reception. !"

14.2

Log keeping requirements for vessels compulsorily fitted with radio equipment
under Commonwealth or State legislation may be found in the relevant
regulations.

14.3

A suggested format for a radio log book page is shown in Appendix 2.

15.

Avoidance of Interference

15.1

Operators should take every precaution to ensure that their transmissions will
not cause harmful interference to other stations. It is important that all
operators:

listen before transmitting to ensure the frequency is not already in


use;

use the minimum transmitting power necessary for reliable


communications;

strictly observe the purpose for which a frequency is assigned; and

keep test signals to a minimum. !"

16.

Ship Station Call Signs and Identities

16.1

A MF/HF ship station (class B) licence issued by the ACA will show the official
international call sign allocated to the vessel.

16.2

Each call sign is unique and is formed in one of two ways:

10

three letters, followed by four numbers; or

four letters.

16.3

In conformity with Australia's international call sign allocation, the first two
letters will always be AX, VZ, VH, or in the series VJ to VN.

16.4

Four letter call signs are allocated only to vessels subject to compulsory radio
installation under the Navigation Act 1912 (generally commercial vessels
making interstate and overseas voyages).

16.5

A Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) will be issued by the Australian


Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to a ship station licensee with an installation
capable of digital selective calling techniques. See the AMSA website for more
information (http://www.amsa.gov.au/AUSSAR/mmsi.htm#form).

16.6

Transmissions from radio equipment aboard survival craft should be identified


by the use of the parent vessel's call sign followed by two numbers (not 0 or
1). The numbers "22" are normally used.

16.7

From 1 July 2001 ship stations operating exclusively on 27 MHz and/or VHF
marine bands will not be issued with a call sign. Operators should use the
name of the vessel or other suitable means of identification. Vessels which
were licensed prior to 1 July 2001 may continue to use the call sign issued by
the ACA, while licensee contact and vessel details remain unchanged.

17.

Ship Station Identification

17.1

Transmissions without identification are forbidden. !"

17.2

A MF/HF ship station must be identified either by the use of the official
international call sign allocated by the ACA or by the ship's name or,
preferably, a combination of both. If using digital selective calling the vessel's
MMSI will automatically be inserted into the transmission. !

17.3

Ship stations operating exclusively on 27 MHz and/or VHF marine bands may
use the vessel's name or other suitable identification. Vessels which were
licensed prior to 1 July 2001 may continue to use the call sign issued by the
ACA while the ownership of the vessel, licensee contact and vessel details
remain unchanged.

17.4

If transmitting radiotelephony distress, urgency or safety messages, or if


involved in search and rescue operations, the utmost care must be taken to
avoid confusion between vessels of the same or similar names. !"

17.5

If transmitting radiotelephony distress, urgency or safety messages, or if


involved in search and rescue operations, the use of an official call sign is
necessary to avoid confusion between vessels of the same or similar names.
!"If no call sign is available then the full name or registered number followed
by port at which the name or registration is recorded can assist in positively
identifying the vessel. If the vessel is not registered then other identification
such as the trailer or parked vehicle registration number followed by the ramp
location where the vehicle is can help to identify the owner in an emergency.

18.

Information for Maritime Communication, Coast Radio and


Limited Coast Stations

18.1

Ship station operators are encouraged to provide departure, positional and


arrival information to a maritime communication station, coast radio station or
limited coast stations operated by marine rescue organisations. !"

18.2

If undertaking a lengthy voyage, a position report should be passed daily to a


maritime communication station, coast radio station or limited coast station
operated by a marine rescue organisation. !"

18.3

This information may provide valuable assistance to search and rescue


authorities should an emergency situation occur.

18.4

The attention of small vessel operators is drawn to the Australian Ship


Reporting System (AUSREP). More detailed information concerning this
system is provided in paragraphs 123.1 - 123.9.

19.

Restrictions to the Use of Radio Equipment on Ships

19.1

Ship station licences authorise the use of radio equipment only aboard
vessels at sea or on inland waters.

19.2

However, if a vessel is anchored or moored, the use of the ship's radio station
to communicate with the nearest maritime communication, coast radio or
limited coast station is permitted providing the lowest practicable transmitting
power is used.

19.3

Due to the risk of explosion, radio transmissions must not be made when a
vessel is loading fuel, or when loading or discharging any flammable cargo.

20.

Documents to be Held On Board

20.1

In addition to the station licence and operator's certificate, a copy of this


handbook and material suitable for use as a radio log book should be held
aboard a vessel.

20.2

It is also recommended that information about the operating hours of, and
frequencies monitored by, limited coast stations in the areas the vessel is
travelling through should be available aboard to facilitate radio
communications. This information should be available from the relevant
State/Territory authority or volunteer marine rescue organisation.

11

12

Maritime Communication,
Coast Radio and Limited
Coast Stations

Chapter Two

Important Note
On 1 July 2002 two TVNZ(A) maritime communication stations replaced the
previous six Telstra coast stations (licenced by the ACA as Major Coast
Stations). At the same time a number of other changes were made to the service
that owners and operators of small vessels need to make themselves aware of.
Monitoring of the MF/HF radiotelephony distress and calling frequencies listed in
paragraph 24.3 ceased to be provided by Telstra coast stations on 30 June 2002.
Small vessels now need to use HF digital selective calling (DSC) techniques in
order to alert a maritime communication station. This applies to all distress, and
safety communications. (There is no routine or public correspondence available
through maritime communication stations.) After the initial DSC alert,
communications between coast and ship stations are conducted by voice (refer
to paragraph 73 for more information). Vessels without DSC or Inmarsat
equipment will not be able to contact maritime communication stations.
Broadcasting of voice and radio facsimile navigational warnings and weather
information by Telstra and the Royal Australian Navy was discontinued on 30
June 2002. The Bureau of Meteorology now transmits a range of high seas and
coastal weather warnings on a combination of previously used working
frequencies and a set of new frequencies. These frequencies are listed in
Appendix 3. The forecasts and warnings are automatically generated and
broadcast. Vessels will not be able to communicate with these stations as they
will only operate as broadcast stations.
The States and the Northern Territory are developing a system of nine coast
stations which will work together to provide 24 hour aural monitoring of some
HF and VHF distress channels. These coast radio stations will be located at:
Cairns, Gladstone, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth, Port Hedland,
and Darwin. Details of these arrangements are outlined in the new Section 3a.
Aural monitoring of other MF/HF radiotelephony distress and calling frequencies
by other limited coast stations continues, but the coverage provided by these
limited coast stations may not be complete. Some weather information also
continues to be available by radiotelephony from these stations.
Contact the relevant State/Territory authority or your local volunteer marine
rescue organisation to find out information about limited coast stations in your
area.

Note
As a result of changes agreed internationally at the World
Radiocommunications Conference 2000, use of carrier frequencies 12 290
and 16 420 kHz for calling purposes should cease from 1 January 2004. These
channels will be reserved for distress and safety from that date. The alternative
carrier frequencies 12 359 and 16 537 kHz can be used for calling on a simplex
basis, provided that the peak power envelope does not exceed 1 kW.
Note
Unless otherwise specified the term limited coast station will be used to refer to
both the coast radio stations operated by the State/Territory marine authorities
and other limited coast stations.

14

Section 3 Maritime Communication Stations


21.

Maritime Communication Station Services

21.1

A maritime communication station is a station on land established for the


purpose of communicating with vessels at sea. Australian maritime
communication stations provide the following services to vessels:

search and rescue (SAR) operations in conjunction with the


Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) in Canberra (RCC Australia);

weather forecasts and warnings for coastal waters and high seas
areas from the Bureau of Meteorology transmitted automatically;
and

continuous automated watch of HF digital selective calling (DSC)


frequencies for distress calls for the purpose of safety of life at sea. !"

21.2

Both Australian maritime communication stations are operated by TVNZ(A).


The TVNZ Network Control Centre is co-located with the Australian Rescue
Co-ordination Centre (RCC) operated by Australian Search and Rescue
(AusSAR) in Canberra. Search and rescue (SAR) and safety of life at sea
services are performed by the RCC on behalf of the Australian Maritime
Safety Authority (AMSA). !"

22.

Location of Maritime Communication Stations

22.1

Under the current contract with TVNZ(A) radiocommunications to vessels at


sea are provided by two maritime communication stations - Wiluna (WA) and
Charleville (Qld). The network is designed to sense the power of a
transmission and respond from the appropriate station. The two stations are
centrally controlled from the network control centre (NCC) in Canberra.

23.

Identification of Maritime Communication Stations

23.3

Maritime communication stations can be contacted via a digital selective


calling service which is identified by a nine digit code known as a Maritime
Mobile Service Identity (MMSI). The MMSI for both Australian maritime
communication stations is 005030001. !"

23.1

After establishing contact by digital selective calling, Australian maritime


communication stations will switch to another channel and respond with the
call sign "RCC Australia"." !"

23.2

Maritime communication stations may also respond with the use of their
official radiotelephony call sign, "RCC Australia, VIC (Victor India Charlie)." !"

24.

Monitoring of Frequencies by Maritime Communication Stations


(Watchkeeping)
Please refer to important note at the commencement of this Section

24.1

Collectively the two maritime communication stations provide a continuous


watch of the HF digital selective calling frequencies reserved for distress,
urgency and safety. See paragraph 73.1.

15

24.2

Maritime communication stations do not have facilities to receive or transmit in


the 27 MHz marine band. Potential users should check if limited coast stations
in their local area are monitoring this frequency before relying on it for
communication.

24.3

Maritime communication stations do not provide aural monitoring of the


international radiotelephony distress and calling frequencies in the 2, 4, 6, 8,
12 and 16 MHz bands (2182, 4125, 6215, 8291, 12 290 and 16 420 kHz) and
the VHF marine band (VHF channel 16). Potential users should read Section
3a for more information and check if limited coast stations in their local area
are monitoring these frequencies before relying on them for communication.

24.4

Maritime communication stations do not provide MF digital selective calling


monitoring in the 2 MHz band (2187.5 kHz). Potential users should check if
limited coast stations in their local area are monitoring these frequencies
before relying on them for communication.

26.

Broadcasts of Weather and Navigational Information from


Maritime Communication Stations
Please refer to important note at the commencement of this Chapter

16

26.1

The Bureau of Meteorology provides automatically generated radiotelephony


broadcasts of routine weather forecasts and weather warnings through the
maritime communication stations. The frequencies used are listed in Appendix
3. These frequencies are not monitored.

26.2

Full details of weather information provided by maritime communication


stations including frequencies used, areas covered and broadcasting times
may be found on the Bureau of Meteorology website
(www.bom.gov.au/marine).

27.

Emergency Medical Advice

27.1

In urgent medical cases, a digital selective calling (DSC) urgency alert may be
used to establish communications with the maritime communication stations.
!"

27.2

Australian maritime communication stations have formal arrangements with


health authorities and will relay medical advice to and from vessels at sea in
an emergency. This service is free of charge. !"

Section 3a State and Northern Territory HF (Coast


Radio) and VHF Stations
Important note
The following information was accurate at the time of writing. However some
details may have changed when this network was implemented. Potential users
should seek current advice from the relevant State/Territory authority or local
volunteer marine rescue organisation about the operation of these services.
The nine HF stations listed in this section are licensed as limited coast stations.
These stations may be referred to elsewhere in this Handbook as coast radio
stations. The VHF only stations operated by (or for) the State and Northern
Territory marine authorities are also licensed as limited coast stations. Both
types of stations as well as other limited coast stations are referred to
collectively as limited coast stations.
27a

Services provided by the State and Northern Territory Governments

27a.1

Commencing 1 July 2002, State and Northern Territory governments will


provide a range of maritime safety radio services. These services will be
provided on selected High Frequency (HF) channels along with Very High
Frequency (VHF) Channel 16 and 67 services in certain coastal areas.

27b

Coast Radio Stations: High Frequency (HF) maritime distress and safety
service

27b.1

HF radio distress and safety services are provided to all coastal areas
throughout Australia with coverage extending to a minimum of 200 nautical
miles seaward.

27b.2

These services are provided through a network of nine HF stations located at


Perth, Port Hedland, Darwin, Cairns, Gladstone, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide
and Hobart. These HF stations will operate using the following identities:

27b.3

COAST RADIO CAIRNS;

COAST RADIO GLADSTONE;

COAST RADIO SYDNEY;

COAST RADIO MELBOURNE;

COAST RADIO HOBART;

COAST RADIO ADELAIDE;

COAST RADIO PERTH;

COAST RADIO HEDLAND; and

COAST RADIO DARWIN.

Services provided by these stations include 24 hour listening watches on 4125


kHz, 6215 kHz and 8291 kHz for distress and safety situations and the
broadcast of navigation warnings on 8176 kHz. !

17

27b.4

Vessel operators should note that the 4125, 6215 and 8291 kHz "distress and
calling" frequencies have been re-designated as "radio telephony distress and
safety traffic" frequencies and are to be used by the State and Northern
Territory stations to receive and work distress, safety or urgency calls and by
Australian Search and Rescue (AusSAR) to respond to HF Digital Selective
Calling (DSC) alerts. It is therefore important to restrict radio traffic on these
frequencies to distress, safety and urgency calls. Radio checks or calls of a
general nature should be directed to volunteer marine rescue groups or other
service providers. !

27b.5 The HF distress and safety service is to be considered a "national service" in


that services provided from each State / NT facility will be identical and
considered part of a national HF distress and safety network. The network
approach ensures high levels of radio service availability thus providing
confidence that a vessel in distress will be able to contact alternative HF
stations during periods of atmospheric or solar disturbance that may limit HF
communications from vessels at sea to any particular station.
27b.6

Navigation warnings will be broadcast on 8176 kHz in accordance with a


schedule commencing 3 minutes prior to the hour (UTC). Navigation warning
broadcast schedules can be obtained from the State/NT marine authorities.

27c.

Very High Frequency (VHF) maritime distress and safety service

27c.1

VHF radio distress and safety services include 24 hour monitoring of VHF
Channel 16 for distress, urgency and safety traffic and regular broadcast of
weather information on VHF Channel 67. !"

27c.2

VHF radio distress and safety services on Channels 16 and 67 are provided in
the following coastal areas:

27c.3

18

Queensland - Sea areas adjacent to Fraser Island with continuous


coverage through to the Tweed Coast area, along with sea areas
adjacent to Townsville;

New South Wales - Sea areas adjacent to Newcastle, with


continuous coastal coverage through to the Nowra area;

Victoria - The Port Phillip Bay / Western Port Bay area and adjacent
sea areas;

Western Australia - Sea areas adjacent to Perth; and

Northern Territory - Sea areas adjacent to Darwin.

Vessel operators should note that VHF Channel 16 is the primary distress
alerting channel. It is therefore important to restrict radio traffic on VHF
Channel 16 to distress, safety and urgency calls where possible. Radio checks
or calls of a general nature should be directed to Volunteer marine rescue
groups on alternate VHF channels. Volunteer groups operate VHF repeaters
that provide substantial coverage in the majority of coastal areas on at least
one of the following VHF Channels - 21, 22, 80, 81, and 82. !"

Section 4 Limited Coast Stations


28.

Categories of Limited Coast Station

28.1

Limited coast stations are stations on land established for the purpose of
communicating with vessels at sea. !" Such stations generally fall into one
of the following categories:

stations serving the professional fishing industry;

stations established by the operators of small commercial vessels


such as charter vessels, tugs, etc;

stations established by boating and fishing clubs to provide a


service for their members;

stations established by port or harbour management authorities to


coordinate the movements of vessels within and near a port; or

stations established by recognised marine rescue organisations to


supplement the safety of life at sea service offered by coast radio r
maritime communication stations.

29.

Services Provided by Limited Coast Stations

29.1

The service provided by limited coast stations is restricted to communications


concerning the safety, movements and operations of vessels. This service
may include communications relating to fishing or other commercial
operations, club events, the broadcast of weather and navigational
information, and search and rescue. Use of services other than distress may
be limited to members of organisations linked to the limited coast station. !"

29.2

Generally, limited coast stations are not permitted to handle public


correspondence to or from destinations ashore. !"

29.3

Limited coast stations offer a service to vessels in the MF/HF, 27 MHz and
VHF marine bands. Details of frequencies assigned to ship radio stations to
communicate with limited coast stations are shown in Appendix 3. !"

30.

Hours of Operation for Limited Coast Stations

30.1

There are no fixed hours for the radio service provided by limited coast
stations and many do not offer a continuous service. Coast radio stations
operate 24 hours a day. Hours of operation are determined by local
requirements or, in some cases, by State government legislation. !"

30.2

In the interests of safety, ship radio station operators are encouraged to


familiarise themselves with local limited coast stations, in particular those
offering a marine rescue service, regarding hours of operation and
frequencies monitored.

19

31.

Identification of Limited Coast Stations

31.1

Limited coast stations operating in the MF and HF marine bands should


identify themselves by use of their name and the official call sign allocated to
them by the ACA.

31.2

Limited coast stations operating in the 27 MHz and VHF marine bands may
use their official call sign and/or other approved identification such as the
organisation's name.
Examples: Queensland Tug and Salvage, VKQ 445 Moreton Bay Boat Club,
Sandringham Coast Guard etc.

31.3

20

Limited coast stations offering a digital selective calling service are identified
by a nine digit code known as a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI).

Section 5 VHF Marine Repeaters


32.

Principle of Operation

32.1

VHF communications range depends mainly on the height of the antennas of


the transmitting and receiving stations. By using VHF marine repeater
stations, the range of ship to ship, ship to shore and shore to ship
communications can be significantly increased.

32.2

VHF marine repeaters are unmanned shore installations usually located at


geographically high points. They are designed to transmit and receive
simultaneously and will retransmit or "repeat" all signals received. The
retransmitted signals can be received by any station listening on the repeater
channel.

32.3

Limited coast stations operated by marine rescue organisations routinely


monitor VHF repeater channels operating in their area.

32.4

Not all coastal areas of Australia are served by VHF marine repeaters.

33.

VHF Marine Repeater Channels

33.1

VHF marine repeaters operate on channels 21, 22, 80, 81 or 82.

33.2

For their own safety, boat owners should ensure that they are familiar with the
location and operating channel of their local repeater.

33.3

Digital selective calling alerts using VHF must be confined to channel 70 and
will not operate through repeaters.

34.

Use of Repeaters

34.1

In most cases VHF marine repeaters are installed and maintained by marine
rescue organisations as a service to mariners and are available for use by all
licensed VHF ship stations. However, in order to minimise congestion, if direct
ship to ship or ship to shore communications are possible on a non-repeater
channel, this must be used in preference.

34.2

Repeater channels must not be used as "chatter channels". Communications


must be restricted to those concerning the movements of vessels and safety
of vessels and persons. To discourage lengthy conversations, repeaters will
incorporate an automatic time restriction of approximately thirty seconds.

34.3

If not apparent by monitoring, a ship station can gain an indication of its ability
to access a repeater by momentarily depressing the microphone button. If a
brief (approximately one second) burst or "tail" of noise is heard from the
loudspeaker when the button is released, then the vessel is activating the
repeater. If a "tail" is not heard, it is probable that the vessel is out of range of
the repeater.

34.4

Operators using VHF equipment equipped with an "International/USA"


channel switch should note that it is essential that the switch be in the
"International" position to access repeaters.

21

22

Operating Procedures
for Routine
Communications

Chapter Three
23

Section 6 General Information


35.

Use of Frequencies

35.1

A ship station may use only the frequencies which are authorised for its
particular activity (for example, pleasure, professional fishing etc). These
frequencies are detailed in the ACA's Radiocommunications Licence
Conditions (Maritime Ship Licence) Determination No.1 of 1997 and the
Radiocommunications (Maritime Ship Station - 27 MHz and VHF) Class
Licence 2001. Except in the case of distress, the use of any other frequency is
not permitted. Offenders may be subject to penalties under the provisions of
the Radiocommunications Act 1992.

35.2

It is important that frequencies are used only for the purpose for which they
are assigned, for example, a frequency shown for communicating with
maritime communication or limited coast stations must not be used for
communicating with other vessels.

36.

Test Transmissions

36.1

When it is necessary for a ship station to transmit signals for testing or making
technical adjustments which are likely to interfere with the working of a nearby
maritime communication or limited coast station, the prior consent of that
station should be obtained. !"

36.2

All testing signals should be kept to a minimum, particularly on frequencies


used for distress, urgency and safety purposes. !"

36.3

The requirement to minimise testing does not prevent a ship station making a
brief transmission to a local limited coast station to confirm correct equipment
operation before the vessel puts to sea.

37.

Control of Communications

37.1

During routine communications between a ship station and a maritime


communication or limited coast station, the maritime communication or limited
coast station controls the working. In order that communications may be
exchanged efficiently, all instructions given by maritime communication and
limited coast stations should be obeyed without delay. However, this does not
prevent a ship station making a suggestion concerning a working frequency or
other on-air operations. !"

37.2

Ship stations must not interfere with maritime communication or limited coast
station communications. !"

37.3

During routine communications between ship stations, the called ship station
controls the subsequent exchange of communications. !"

38.

Radiotelephony Calling and Working Frequencies

38.1

Radiotelephony frequencies assigned to ship, maritime communication and


limited coast stations are categorised as either calling or working:

24

calling frequencies are used to establish communications with


maritime communication, limited coast and other ship stations; and

working frequencies are used to exchange messages relating to


the operation and movement of vessels and to conduct public
correspondence communications. !"

38.2

All stations may establish communications with the desired station by using a
radiotelephony calling frequency. Once communications have been
established, communications should be transferred to a working frequency
and the messages exchanged. At the conclusion of working, stations should
resume monitoring of the appropriate calling frequency. !"

38.3

The majority of radiotelephony calling frequencies are also assigned for


distress, urgency and safety call purposes. This enables ship stations to
monitor a single frequency for routine calling from other stations and for safety
of life at sea purposes.

38.4

Limited coast stations may monitor several of these dual-purpose frequencies.


Maritime communication stations only monitor HF digital selective calling
frequencies.

38.5

It is essential that calling frequencies are not used for the exchange of routine
messages.

39.

Radiotelephony Calling Frequencies


Please refer to important note at commencement of Section 3

39.1

The main radiotelephony frequencies for establishing routine communications


with an Australian limited coast station or another ship are:

2182, 12 290 and 16 420 kHz in the MF/HF marine bands;

27.88 and 27.86 MHz (channels 88 and 86) in the 27 MHz marine
band; and

Channels 16 and 67 in the VHF marine band. ! (" VHF channels


only)

39.2

Ship stations wishing to attract the attention of Australian maritime


communication stations must use digital selective calling (DSC) equipment
and an appropriate HF DSC channel. Appropriate DSC channels for distress,
safety and calling are: 4207.5; 6312; 8414.5; 12 577; and 16 804.5 kHz.

39.3

Certain other radiotelephony frequencies are monitored by some limited coast


stations and may be used for establishing communications. Details of these
frequencies are shown in Appendix 3.

39.4

In Australia, all radiotelephony calling frequencies are used in the simplex


mode with transmission and reception taking place on the same frequency.

39.5

VHF channel 70 may be used for establishing routine communications using


digital selective calling techniques. Further information may be found in
paragraphs 74.1 to 74.4

40.

Radiotelephony Working Frequencies

40.1

Details of radiotelephony frequencies to be used for working with Australian


maritime communication stations are shown in Appendix 3.

40.2

Details of radiotelephony frequencies to be used for working with limited coast


stations and other vessels are shown in Appendix 3.

25

26

40.3

The frequencies used by the Bureau of Meteorology for transmission of


Weather Forecasts and Warnings should no longer be used as working
frequencies, even when weather broadcasts are not being made. The weather
broadcasts are now on an automatic schedule. There will not be any
announcement (on a calling frequency) that the broadcast will start. There is
no provision for the Bureau of Meteorology to monitor the frequency prior to
the commencement of the broadcast.

40.4

Many of the frequencies designated for working with maritime communication


stations are allocated in pairs, with transmission and reception taking place on
different frequencies.

40.5

All ship to shore and shore to ship working frequencies in the HF and VHF
marine bands are allocated an international channel number. In the interests of
brevity and accuracy, ship station operators are encouraged to refer to channel
numbers rather than frequencies. Details of channel numbers may be found in
the ITU radio regulations.

41.

Phonetic Alphabet and Figure Code

41.1

In cases of doubtful reception or difficult conditions when passing any


radiotelephony message, ship station operators should spell out words and
figures using the international phonetic alphabet and figure code. Details may
be found in Appendix 4. !" (phonetic alphabet only)

41.2

Use of the phonetic alphabet is particularly important when handling


radiotelephony messages concerning the safety of life at sea.

Section 7 Routine Calling and Replying


Procedures for Radiotelephony
42.

Calling Procedures

42.1

As a general rule, it rests with the ship station to call and establish
communications with a maritime communication or limited coast station.
However, a maritime communication or limited coast station wishing to
communicate with a ship station may call that vessel if it believes that it is
within range and is keeping watch. !"

42.2

A ship station wishing to contact another station must first select a frequency
that is being monitored by that station. !"

42.3

Before transmitting, the operator should listen for a period long enough to be
satisfied that harmful interference will not be caused to communications
already in progress. !"

42.4

When establishing communications by radiotelephony, the initial call should be


made in the following manner:

42.5

the name and/or call sign or other identification of the station being
called, spoken not more than three times;

the words THIS IS (or DE spoken as Delta Echo in case of


language difficulties); and

the name and/or call sign or other identification of the station


calling, spoken not more than three times. !"

This call should immediately be followed with the purpose of the call, the
working frequency that is suggested for the exchange of messages and the
word "OVER" (an invitation for the other station to respond). !"

Example:
FREMANTLE SEA RESCUE FREMANTLE SEA RESCUE
FREMANTLE SEA RESCUE
This is
SPINDRIFT VLW1234 SPINDRIFT VLW1234 SPINDRIFT VLW1234
POSITION REPORT
SUGGEST CHANGE TO 2201
OVER

42.6

When using radiotelephony frequencies in the VHF marine band and


communications conditions are good, the first part of a call may be
abbreviated to:

the name and/or call sign etc. of station being called, spoken once;

the words THIS IS;

the name and/or call sign etc. of station calling, spoken twice. !"

27

Example:
SANDRINGHAM COAST GUARD
This is
SAUCY SUE VLV4567 SAUCY SUE VLV4567
POSITION REPORT
SUGGEST CHANGE TO CHANNEL 73
OVER

28

42.7

On all bands, once contact is established, station names and/or call signs
should be spoken once only. !"

42.8

Reverse calling, for example "TEMPEST VLS5678 CALLING FREMANTLE


SEA RESCUE", should be avoided. !"

43.

Repeating Calls

43.1

When a station being called does not reply to a call sent three times in the
space of two minutes, calling should cease and not be renewed until after an
interval of three minutes.

43.2

However, before this, the calling station should be satisfied that further calling
is unlikely to cause interference and that the station being called is not busy
with other communications.

43.3

The restrictions concerning call repeats are, of course, not applicable to ship
stations making distress or urgency calls.

44.

Replying to Calls

44.1

A station replying to a radiotelephony call should use the following procedure:

the identification of the station which called, spoken not more than
three times;

the words THIS IS (or DE spoken as Delta Echo in the case of


language difficulties); and

the name and/or radiotelephony call sign of the station replying,


spoken not more than three times. !"

44.2

Procedures for replying to radiotelephony calls made on VHF marine bands


may be abbreviated in a similar manner to those described in the calling
procedures.

44.3

The reply should be immediately followed by an indication that the replying


station will also change to the working frequency suggested by the calling
station. !"

44.4

At this point both stations should adjust their radio equipment to transmit and
receive on the agreed working frequency (or frequencies) and, after making
sure that the frequency (or frequencies) is not occupied by other stations, reestablish communications.

44.5

It is normal practice for the station which made the initial call on the calling
frequency to also make the initial call on the working frequency. Once
communications have been re-established, the exchange of messages may
proceed.

45.

Signal For End of Work

45.1

The end of the exchange of radiotelephony messages on the working


frequency should be indicated by both stations by adding the word "OUT".

45.2

Both stations should then resume monitoring of the appropriate distress and
calling frequency.

46.

Broadcasts of weather information or navigational warnings


from stations other than Bureau of Meteorology operated
marine radio stations
Note: The broadcast of weather bulletins via maritime communication
stations is now done automatically. There is no provision for the Bureau
of Meteorology to monitor the frequencies prior to the broadcasts of
weather information. The information regarding the Bureau of
Meteorology weather transmissions is noted in the Introduction to
chapter 2 and the transmission frequencies are listed in Appendix 3.

46.1

A limited coast station wishing to attract the attention of all ship stations prior
to the radiotelephony broadcast of a weather forecast or navigational warning,
or a list of ships for which it has messages (known as a traffic list) will make
the following call on a calling frequency:

"Hello all ships" (or CQ spoken as Charlie Quebec), spoken not


more than three times;

the words THIS IS;

the call sign of the station, spoken not more than three times;

Listen for.......... (weather forecast, traffic list etc) on.......... (working


frequency).

46.2

A maritime communication station may make a similar announcement prior to


the broadcast of navigational or weather information.

47.

Difficulties in Establishing Communications by Radiotelephony

47.1

If a vessel, maritime communication or limited coast station is unable to


communicate with a calling station immediately, it should reply to a call
followed by "wait ....... minutes". !"

47.2

Maritime communication stations or limited coast stations which are busy with
other ship stations may respond to a call from a vessel with "your turn is
number ....... ".

47.3

When a station receives a call without being certain that the call is intended
for it, it should not reply until that call has been repeated and understood. !"

47.4

When a station receives a call which is intended for it, but is uncertain of the
identification of the calling station, it should reply immediately asking for a
repetition of the call sign or other identification of the calling station. !"

29

Section 8 Monitoring of Radiotelephony


Frequencies (Watchkeeping)
48.
48.1

48.2

30

Radiotelephony Silence
Periods
International regulations no longer
require silence periods to be
observed on the distress and
calling frequencies. !"
However, to increase the safety of
life at sea in Australia, two threeminute periods of radiotelephony
silence should be observed in each
hour. !"

00
55

05
03

50

10

RADIOTELEPHONY
SILENCE PERIODS

45

15

20

40
33

35

25
30

48.3

Radiotelephony silence periods


start on the hour and continue to
three minutes past the hour, and on
the half hour until thirty-three minutes past the hour. !"

48.4

With the exception of distress calls and messages, all aural transmissions
from all stations should cease during these periods. !"

48.5

It is the practice in all Australian waters to observe silence periods on the


radiotelephony frequencies of 2182, 4125, 6215, 8291, 12 290, 16 420 kHz
and VHF channel 16. ! (" VHF channel only)

48.6

During periods of normal working, a weak distress signal may not be heard.
Silence periods increase the chances of a distressed vessel's signals being
heard by other stations.

48.7

It is important that ship station operators have access to an accurate clock or


watch to ensure correct observance of silence periods. An accurate clock is
also useful to keep an accurate record of communication, particularly in
emergency situations.

48.8

In some locations in Australia silence periods are observed on 27 MHz marine


frequencies.

48.9

Silence periods are not observed on the MF/HF frequencies and VHF channel
reserved for digital selective calling.

49.

Monitoring of Radiotelephony Distress and Calling Frequencies

49.1

Ship stations are encouraged to keep maximum practicable watch on the


radiotelephony distress and calling frequencies appropriate to their location
and the type of marine radiocommunications equipment fitted, particularly
during silence periods. !"

49.2

Watchkeeping requirements for vessels compulsorily fitted with radio


equipment under State legislation may be found in the relevant regulations.

49.3

Aural watchkeeping has been replaced by digital selective calling


watchkeeping by maritime communication stations.

Distress Urgency and


Safety Communications
Using Radiotelephony

Chapter Four

Section 9 Priority Calls: General Information

32

50.

General Information

50.1

National and international systems exist to provide prompt and effective


search and rescue assistance to ships in distress. By complying with
procedures in this chapter, ship station operators can ensure that these
systems continue to work effectively for the benefit of all mariners.

50.2

All radiotelephony distress, urgency and safety calls and messages should be
spoken slowly and clearly. The phonetic alphabet and figure code should be
used if necessary. Use of the standard marine vocabulary is recommended in
the case of language difficulties. Details may be found in Appendixes 4 and 5.

50.3

In order that signals may be received by the maximum number of stations, the
compatible transmit mode of AM (marked as H3E on some transmitters) must
be selected for the broadcast of distress, urgency or safety messages on 2182
kHz.

50.4

Ship stations with single sideband capability on 27 MHz equipment, should


also select the AM mode for the broadcast of distress, urgency or safety
messages on 27.88 MHz.

50.5

The transmission of false or deceptive distress, urgency or safety messages is


strictly forbidden. Extremely severe penalties, including imprisonment, exist
under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 for any person found guilty of
making such a transmission.

Section 10 Alarm Signals


Note
As a consequence of the complete introduction of the GMDSS in 1999, the
radiotelephone alarm signal was replaced by digital selective calling techniques,
and large trading vessels no longer carry transmission and reception facilities
for it. However MF/HF transceivers with a radiotelephony alarm signal generator
are still in use on many small vessels. In view of this and the signal's readily
recognisable characteristic, the signal will continue to be a useful procedure for
small vessels for a number of years.

51.

The Radiotelephony Alarm Signal

51.1

The radiotelephony alarm signal consists of two audio frequency tones, one
high, one low, transmitted alternately. This produces a distinctive warbling
sound which is easily distinguished, even in poor reception conditions. !

51.2

The purpose of the signal is to attract the attention of operators to the


message which is to follow. !

51.3

Operators of MF/HF ship station radio equipment with the facility to transmit
the radiotelephony alarm signal should, if time permits, use it to precede a
distress call and message. !

51.4

The radiotelephony alarm signal may also be used by ship stations to precede
an urgency message concerning the loss of a person or persons overboard,
or when grave and imminent danger is threatening a person or persons. Its
use under these circumstances must be restricted to circumstances when the
assistance of other vessels is required and cannot be obtained by use of the
urgency signal alone. !

51.5

In order to attract the attention of the maximum number of ship stations,


limited coast and maritime communication stations may use the
radiotelephony alarm signal to precede distress calls and messages. !

51.6

Limited coast and maritime communication stations may also use the
radiotelephony alarm signal to precede a safety message concerning an
urgent cyclone warning. !

51.7

The radiotelephony alarm signal transmitted by a maritime communication


station will be followed by a single low tone lasting for ten seconds. This
identifies the transmission as that from a maritime communication station. !

52.

The Navigational Warning Signal

52.1

The navigational warning signal consists of a single audio tone of 2200 Hertz
interrupted to give a sequence of alternate tone dashes and spaces each of
duration one quarter of a second. The signal may be transmitted continuously
by a coast station for a period of fifteen seconds to attract the attention of
stations to a vital navigational warning which will follow.

52.2

The navigational warning signal is not generally used by Australian maritime


communication or limited coast stations.

33

Section 11 Distress Communications


53.

Definition and Priority of Distress

53.1

A distress call has absolute priority over all other transmissions and indicates
that the vessel or person using it is threatened by grave and imminent danger
and requests immediate assistance. All stations which hear a distress call
must immediately cease all transmissions capable of interfering with distress
communications, and must continue to listen on the frequency on which the
distress call was received. A distress call is not addressed to a particular
station. !"

53.2

The obligation to accept distress calls and messages is absolute and must be
accepted with priority over all other radiocommunications. !"

54.

Authority to Transmit Distress calls and Messages

54.1

A radiotelephony alarm signal, a distress call and a distress message from a


vessel may be transmitted only on the authority of the master or skipper, or the
person responsible for the safety of that vessel. !"

55.

Frequencies for Distress

55.1

International frequencies for distress calls by radiotelephony are:

55.2

34

2182, 4125, 6215, 8291, 12 290, 16 420 kHz in the MF/HF marine
bands; and

Channel 16 in the VHF marine band. ! ("VHF channel only)

In Australian waters the following additional radiotelephony distress


frequencies have been allocated:

Channel 67 in the VHF band (supplementary to Channel 16);

27.88 MHz (channel 88) in the 27 MHz marine band; and

27.86 MHz (channel 86) in the 27 MHz marine band


(supplementary to channel 88). ! (" VHF channel only)

55.3

The distress frequencies in the 27 MHz marine band are monitored by the
majority of limited coast stations operated by marine rescue groups.

55.4

In the interests of safety, boat owners should ensure that their equipment has
the distress frequencies necessary to communicate with limited coast stations
in their area of operation. Contact the relevant State/Territory authority or your
local volunteer marine rescue organisation to find out information about limited
coast stations in your area.

55.5

The distress frequencies listed in paragraphs 55.1 and 55,2 are not monitored
by maritime communication stations. Maritime communication stations only
provide a continuous watch of the HF digital selective calling frequencies
reserved for distress, urgency and safety. International DSC channels for
distress are: 4207.5; 6312; 8414.5; 12 577; and 16 804.5 kHz. See paragraph
73.1 for more information.

55.6

The frequencies used by the Bureau of Meteorology to provide automatically


generated radiotelephony broadcasts of routine weather forecasts and weather
warnings through the maritime communication stations are not monitored.

56.

The Distress Signal

56.1

The radiotelephony distress signal consists of the word "MAYDAY" !"

56.2

This signal indicates that the vessel or person using it is threatened by grave
and imminent danger and requests immediate assistance. !"

56.3

The distress signal must not be used under any other circumstances. !"

56.4

It should be noted that use of the distress signal is only justified if the vessel
or person using it is threatened by grave and imminent danger. It does not
extend to situations where immediate assistance is sought on behalf of a
person , for example, a medical emergency. The urgency signal should be
used in these situations. !"

56.5

Misuse of the distress signal could result in attention being diverted away from
a situation which really requires immediate assistance. !"

57.

The Distress Call

57.1

The radiotelephony distress call consists of:

the distress signal MAYDAY, spoken three times;

the words THIS IS (or DE spoken as Delta Echo in case of


language difficulties);

the name and call sign of the vessel in distress, spoken three
times. !"

58.

The Distress Message

58.1

The distress message consists of:

the distress signal MAYDAY;

the name and call sign of the vessel in distress;

particulars of its position;

the nature of the distress and the kind of assistance desired;

any other information which may facilitate rescue. !"

Example of a complete distress call and message:


The radiotelephony
alarm signal

If facility fitted, then the following


spoken message:

Distress call
Distress signal (x3)
Words "this is"
Station calling (x3)

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY


THIS IS
SCAMP VL2345 SCAMP VL2345 SCAMP VL2345

Distress message
Distress signal
Name/call sign

MAYDAY
SCAMP VL2345
...Continued on page 36

35

...Continued from page 35

Position
Nature of distress

Other information

36

50 NAUTICAL MILES DUE EAST


POINT DANGER
STRUCK SUBMERGED OBJECT SINKING
RAPIDLY ESTIMATE TIME AFLOAT
15 MINUTES REQUIRE IMMEDIATE
ASSISTANCE
TWENTY METRE MOTOR CRUISER RED
HULL WHITE SUPERSTRUCTURE FOUR
PERSONS ON BOARD EPIRB ACTIVATED

58.2

The distress call and message may be repeated as often as necessary,


especially during silence periods, until an answer is received. !"

58.3

If no answer is received on distress frequencies, the message should be


repeated on any other available frequency where attention might be attracted.
!"

59.

Distress Position Information

59.1

Position information in a distress message should normally be stated in one of


three ways:

latitude and longitude (degrees and minutes and decimal points of a


minute if necessary, North or South, East or West); or

a true bearing and distance (the unit of distance should always be


specified, for example, nautical miles or kilometres) from a known
geographical point (for example 045 degrees true, Point Danger, 24
nautical miles); or

a precise geographical location (for example, in the case of a


vessel running aground). !"

59.2

Where latitude and longitude are not used, care must be taken to ensure that
the position given cannot be confused with any other place or geographical
point.

59.3

If afloat and drifting, the rate and direction of drift could be stated in the
distress message.

60.

Obligation to Acknowledge Receipt of a Distress Message

60.1

Ship stations which receive a distress message from another vessel which is,
beyond any possible doubt, in their vicinity, should immediately acknowledge
receipt. !"

60.2

However, in areas where reliable communications with a limited coast or


maritime communication station is practicable, ship stations should defer this
acknowledgment for a short interval to allow the limited coast or maritime
communication station to acknowledge receipt. !"

60.3

Ship stations which receive a distress message from another vessel which,
beyond any possible doubt, is not in their vicinity should defer their
acknowledgment to allow vessels nearer to the distressed vessel to
acknowledge without interference. !"

60.4

Ship stations which receive a distress message from another vessel which,
beyond any possible doubt, is a long distance away, need not acknowledge
receipt unless this distress message has not been acknowledged by any other
station. !"

60.5

When a ship station hears a distress message which has not been
acknowledged by other stations, but is not itself in a position to provide
assistance, it should acknowledge the call and then take steps to attract the
attention of a maritime communication station, limited coast station or vessels
which might be able to assist. !" Details of how this should be done may be
found in paragraphs 66.1 - 66.6 (transmission of a distress message by a
station not itself in distress).

61.

Acknowledgment of Receipt of a Distress Message

61.1

Acknowledgment of receipt of a distress message by a vessel, limited coast or


maritime communication station is made in the following way:

the distress signal MAYDAY;

the name and call sign of the station sending the distress message,
spoken three times;

the words THIS IS (or DE spoken as Delta Echo in case of


language difficulties);

61.2

the name and call sign of the station acknowledging receipt,


spoken three times;

the word RECEIVED (or ROMEO ROMEO ROMEO in the case of


language difficulties);

the distress signal MAYDAY. !"

As soon as possible after this acknowledgment a ship station should transmit


the following information:

its position;

the speed at which it is proceeding and the approximate time it will


take to reach the distress scene. !"

Example of acknowledgment of receipt of a distress message by a


ship station (transmitted in response to the distress call and message in the
example given in paragraph 58.1):
MAYDAY SCAMP VL2345 SCAMP VL2345 SCAMP VL2345
THIS IS
PRONTO VZN6789 PRONTO VZN6789 PRONTO VZN6789
RECEIVED MAYDAY
IN POSITION 35 NAUTICAL MILES EAST POINT DANGER
PROCEEDING AT 15 KNOTS ESTIMATE
AT YOUR POSITION IN ONE HOUR

37

38

62.

Distress Traffic

62.1

Distress traffic consists of all communications relating to the immediate


assistance required by the vessel in distress, including search and rescue and
on-scene communications. The distress signal MAYDAY should be used to
precede each call and message. !"

63.

Control of Distress Traffic

63.1

The control of distress traffic is the responsibility of the vessel in distress.


However, this station may delegate the control of distress traffic to a vessel, a
maritime communication station or limited coast station. !"

63.2

The vessel in distress or the station in control of distress traffic may impose
silence on any or all stations interfering with distress traffic by sending the
instruction SEELONCE MAYDAY. !"

63.3

This instruction must not be used by any station other than the vessel in
distress, or the station controlling distress traffic. !"

63.4

If another station near the distressed vessel believes that silence is necessary
it should use the instruction SEELONCE DISTRESS followed by its own name
and call sign. !"

63.5

Any station which has knowledge of distress traffic and cannot provide
assistance should continue to monitor the traffic until such time that it is
obvious assistance is being provided. !"

63.6

Any station which is aware of distress traffic, and is not taking part in it, is
forbidden to transmit on any frequency which is being used for that traffic. !"

63.7

Ship stations not involved in the exchange of distress traffic may, while
continuing to monitor the situation, resume normal radio service when distress
traffic is well established and on the conditions that distress traffic frequencies
are not used and no interference is caused to distress traffic. !"

64.

Resumption of Restricted Working

64.1

Should the station controlling distress traffic consider that complete silence is
no longer required on the distress frequency, the station should transmit on
that frequency a message addressed to all stations indicating that restricted
working may be resumed. Ship stations may then resume use of the distress
frequency for normal purposes, but in a cautious manner and having regard
that the frequency may still be required for distress traffic. !"

64.2

The message to announce resumption of restricted working should take the


following form:

the distress signal MAYDAY;

the call HELLO ALL STATIONS (or CQ spoken as Charlie Quebec),


spoken three times;

the words THIS IS (or DE spoke as DELTA ECHO in the case of


language difficulties);

the name and call sign of the station sending the message;

the time the message originated;

the name and call sign of the vessel in distress;

the word PRU-DONCE. !"

65.

Resumption of Normal Working

65.1

When distress traffic has ceased on a frequency which has been used for
distress traffic, the station which has been controlling that traffic should
transmit a message addressed to all stations indicating that normal working
may be resumed. !"

65.2

The message to announce resumption of normal working should take the


following form:

the distress signal MAYDAY;

the call HELLO ALL STATIONS (or CQ spoken as Charlie Quebec),


spoken three times;

the words THIS IS (or DE spoke as DELTA ECHO in the case of


language difficulties);

the name and call sign of the station sending the message;

the time the message originated;

the name and call sign of the vessel which was in distress;

the words SEELONCE FEENEE. !"

66.

Transmission of a Distress Message by a Station Not Itself in


Distress

66.1

A ship station, a maritime communication station or a limited coast station


which learns that a vessel is in distress may transmit a distress message on
behalf of that vessel when:
(a) the vessel in distress cannot itself transmit a distress message; or
(b) the master or skipper of the vessel not in distress, or the person
responsible for a maritime communication station, or limited coast
station, considers that further help is necessary; or
(c) although not in a position to provide assistance, it has heard a
distress message which has not been acknowledged (see
paragraph 60.5). !"

66.2

When a distress message is transmitted by a station not in distress, it is


essential that this fact be made clear. Failure to follow the correct radio
procedures could cause confusion and delays or, in the worst case,
assistance to be directed to the wrong vessel. !"

66.3

A distress message transmitted by a vessel, maritime communication station


or limited coast station not itself in distress should take the following form:

the signal MAYDAY RELAY, spoken three times;

the words THIS IS (or DE spoken as DELTA ECHO in case of


language difficulties);

the name and call sign of the station making the transmission,
spoken three times. !"

39

66.4

In the circumstances outlined in (a) and (b) of paragraph 66.1, this


transmission should be immediately followed by a suitable message in which
the position and circumstances of the distressed vessel are provided. If the
transmission is made by a vessel arriving at a distress scene to find rescue is
beyond its resources then the transmission should be followed by a message
outlining these circumstances and providing the relay vessel's own position. In
the circumstance outlined in 66.1(c), the transmission should be followed by a
repeat of the original distress message. !"

66.5

If facilities are available, the radiotelephony alarm signal should precede the
transmission. !

Example of a message transmitted by a ship station under circumstance


66.1 (c) on behalf of vessel "Seadog" VNW6789:
Radiotelephony alarm signal (if facility fitted)
MAYDAY RELAY MAYDAY RELAY MAYDAY RELAY
THIS IS
MISTY VLW3456 MISTY VLW3456 MISTY VLW3456
MAYDAY SEADOG VNW6789
POSITION 50 NAUTICAL MILES NORTHWEST OF CAPE INSCRIPTION
ON FIRE AND ABANDONING INTO LIFERAFT 2 PERSONS ON BOARD

Example of message transmitted by a coast radio station under circumstance 66.1 (b):
Radiotelephony alarm signal
MAYDAY RELAY MAYDAY RELAY MAYDAY RELAY
THIS IS
COAST RADIO SYDNEY COAST RADIO SYDNEY COAST RADIO SYDNEY
UNIDENTIFIED DISTRESS MESSAGE HAS BEEN RECEIVED AND RED
FLARES HAVE BEEN SIGHTED TO SEAWARD OF BEECROFT HEAD ALL
VESSELS IN THE AREA INVESTIGATE AND REPORT

66.6

40

A ship station should not acknowledge receipt of a Mayday Relay message


transmitted by a maritime communication station or limited coast station unless
definitely in a position to provide assistance. !"

Section 12 Urgency and Safety Signals


67.

The Urgency Signal

67.1

The urgency signal consists of the words PAN PAN spoken three times. It has
priority over all other communications except those concerned with distress.
!"

67.2

Use of the urgency signal indicates that the station sending it has a very
urgent message to transmit concerning the safety of a vessel or aircraft, or the
safety of a person. !"

67.3

The urgency signal may only be sent on the authority of the master or skipper,
or person responsible for the safety of a vessel. !"

67.4

All stations which hear an urgency signal must take care not to interfere with
the message that follows. !"

67.5

The urgency signal and message are normally sent on one or more of the
distress frequencies. However, transmission of the message following the
urgency signal should be transferred to a working frequency if:

67.6

it is lengthy or it concerns an urgent medical case; or

after the initial broadcast on the distress frequency/ies it needs to


be frequently repeated (this generally applies only to maritime
communication stations). !"

Urgency messages may be addressed to all stations or to a particular station.


If addressed to all stations, the originating station must cancel the message
when action is no longer necessary. !"

Example of an urgency call and message sent by a ship station:


Urgency signal
Station called (x3)

Words "this is"

PAN PAN PAN PAN PAN PAN


HELLO ALL STATIONS
HELLO ALL STATIONS
HELLO ALL STATIONS
THIS IS

Station calling (x3)

HAWK VL2345

HAWK VL2345

HAWK VL2345

Urgency message

30 NAUTICAL MILES DUE WEST OF CAPE


BORA LOST PROPELLER ESTIMATE
DRIFTING SOUTHWEST AT 3 KNOTS
REQUIRE TOW URGENTLY
!"

41

Example of an urgency call and message sent by a limited coast station:


Urgency signal
Station called (x3)

Words "this is"

PAN PAN PAN PAN PAN PAN


HELLO ALL STATIONS
HELLO ALL STATIONS
HELLO ALL STATIONS
THIS IS

Station calling (x3)

OCEAN RESCUE LAKES ENTRANCE


OCEAN RESCUE LAKES ENTRANCE
OCEAN RESCUE LAKES ENTRANCE

Urgency message

FIFTEEN METRE YACHT STANDFAST


REPORTED OVERDUE ON VOYAGE
FROM PORT MACQUARIE TO HOBART
LAST RADIO CONTACT 4 JUNE IN
POSITION 30 NAUTICAL MILES TO
SEAWARD OF CAPE HOWE
DESCRIPTION WHITE HULL BLUE
SAILS THREE PERSONS ON BOARD ALL
VESSELS KEEP SHARP LOOKOUT AND
REPORT ANY SIGHTING

68.

The Safety Signal

68.1

The safety signal consists of the word SECURITE (pronounced SAY-CURE-ETAY) spoken three times. !"

68.2

It indicates that the station using it is about to transmit a message concerning


an important navigational or weather warning. It should not be used to
precede routine weather forecasts. !"

68.3

Ship stations hearing the safety signal should continue to listen until they are
satisfied that it does not concern them. They must not make any transmission
which is likely to interfere with the message. !"

68.4

The safety signal and a call to all stations should normally be made on a
distress frequency. However, the safety message which follows should be
made on a working frequency. !"

Example of safety call and message transmitted by a ship station:


Safety signal)

Station called (x3)

SAY-CURE-E-TAY
SAY-CURE-E-TAY
SAY-CURE-E-TAY
HELLO ALL STATIONS
HELLO ALL STATIONS
HELLO ALL STATIONS
Continued on page 43...

42

Continued from page 42...

Words "this is"


Station calling (x3)
Change of frequency

THIS IS
SEAFOX VL9876 SEAFOX VL9876 SEAFOX VL9876
NAVIGATIONAL WARNING LISTEN ON 2182

Ship station changes to working frequency and calls again


Safety signal
Station called (x1)
Words "this is"
Station calling (x1)
Message

SAY-CURE-E-TAY SAY-CURE-E-TAY SAY-CURE-E-TAY


HELLO ALL STATIONS
THIS IS
SEAFOX VL9876
POSITION 030 DEGREES 12 NAUTICAL MILES
FROM CAPE ARNHEM SHIPPING CONTAINER
FLOATING JUST BELOW SURFACE
DANGER TO NAVIGATION !"

Example of a safety call and message transmitted by a coast radio station:


Safety signal
Station called (x3)

Words "this is"


Station calling (x3)

Change of frequency

SAY-CURE-E-TAY SAY-CURE-E-TAY SAY-CURE-E-TAY


HELLO ALL STATIONS
HELLO ALL STATIONS
HELLO ALL STATIONS
THIS IS
COAST RADIO DARWIN COAST RADIO DARWIN
COAST RADIO DARWIN
GALE WARNING LISTEN ON 2182

Coast station changes to working frequencies and calls again


Safety signal
Station called (x1)
Words "this is"
Station calling (x1)
Message

SAY-CURE-E-TAY SAY-CURE-E-TAY SAY-CURE-E-TAY


HELLO ALL STATIONS
THIS IS
COAST RADIO DARWIN
DALY RIVER TO TORRES STRAIT
NORTHEASTERLY WINDS IN EXCESS OF
30 KNOTS ARE EXPECTED TO PERSIST FOR
ANOTHER TWENTY-FOUR HOURS

43

44

Marine Digital
Selective Calling (DSC)
Communications
While the procedures detailed in this chapter are
based on those formulated by the International
Telecommunication Union and the International
Maritime Organisation, they may be subject to
some variation as digital selective calling (DSC)
becomes an established part of small vessel
radiocommunications in Australia.

Chapter Five

Section 13 General Information


Note
While the procedures detailed in this chapter are based on those published by
the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Maritime
Organisation (IMO), they may be subject to some adjustment as digital selective
calling (DSC) becomes an established part of small vessel radiocommunications
in Australia.

46

69.

Introduction

69.1

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) has meant the
introduction of a variety of automated radiocommunications technologies. One
of these is known as digital selective calling or DSC. This technique has been
used for several years by large trading vessels. It is expected that its use will
gradually become commonplace by small vessels and eventually may replace
radiotelephony techniques for initial distress, urgency and safety calls on the
MF/HF marine band. With time, traditional labour-intensive aural watchkeeping
by ship and limited coast stations may change to automated DSC electronic
watchkeeping as the maritime communication stations have done.

69.2

Although maritime communication stations provide a service in the HF marine


band, the use of DSC by small vessels in Australia is in its infancy. At the time
of printing, most of the shore-based infrastructure at limited coast stations
does not support this form of communications for small vessels. As a
consequence normal radiotelephony procedures are likely to be the primary
means of initiating priority calls to and from small vessels for some years.

69.3

DSC techniques will not be introduced into the 27 MHz marine band, and
maritime communication stations no longer monitor the MF and VHF bands.
Therefore HF radiotelephony equipment with DSC fitted is recommended
above other options.

69.4

While the main use of DSC by small vessels will be for distress, urgency and
safety purposes, the technique may also be used for routine calling. !"

69.5

DSC is a semi-automated means of establishing initial contact between


stations. Once this contact has been established, normal radiotelephony is
used for subsequent communications. DSC can be used to initiate ship to
ship, ship to shore, and shore to ship communications. Information transmitted
by DSC is generally known as a DSC Alert. !"

69.6

A DSC Alert is a brief burst (typically seven seconds on MF/HF, and 0.5
second on VHF) of digitised information transmitted from one station to alert
another station or stations, and to provide some basic information. !"
(excluding alert durations)

69.7

DSC Alerts are transmitted on MF/HF and VHF marine frequencies specifically
reserved for this type of transmission. The DSC Alert indicates the identity of
the calling station and the purpose of the call. !"

69.8

The way in which the transmitted DSC Alert is encoded by the initiating station
selects which station or stations will decode the information. Whilst all stations
listening on the DSC frequency will receive the Alert, only the station(s)
selected by the transmitting station will actually decode and have the message
available. This will be signalled by an audible alarm to alert the operator. !"

69.9

DSC Alerts bearing the distress priority will be decoded by all stations
receiving the Alert. !"

69.10

Encoding of a DSC message prior to transmission is performed manually by


an operator using transceiver front panel controls. Received information is
decoded and made available in alphanumeric form on a liquid crystal or
fluorescent display incorporated in the equipment. !"

69.11

The greatest advantage of DSC is the automation of the transmission and


reception of initial distress, urgency and safety calls. A single dedicated button
push by an operator could initiate such a call, whilst the necessity for ship and
shore operators to manually maintain a listening watch on distress and calling
frequencies is removed.

69.12

Importantly, DSC used in small vessels will avoid communications


incompatibility between large and small vessels. The International Maritime
Organisation (IMO) has strongly recommended that recreational and other
small vessels equip with GMDSS compatible equipment. DSC
communications fulfill this requirement and will permit direct ship to ship
alerting regardless of the size of the ship. However, in recognition that DSC
will take some years to fully penetrate the small vessel market, the IMO has
extended compulsory VHF channel 16 radiotelephony watchkeeping on the
bridge of large trading vessels until the year 2005. Compulsory watchkeeping
on 2182 kHz on such vessels was discontinued in early 1999.

69.13

Vessels proceeding overseas should note that DSC facilities are well
developed in many parts of the world and listening watches on radiotelephony
distress and calling frequencies may have been discontinued by some
countries.

69.14

With the gradual change to DSC, the problem of hoax distress calls is likely to
decrease. It is impossible to transmit a DSC call without electronically
identifying the initiating vessel.

70.

DSC-Capable Equipment

70.1

Small vessel MF/HF transceivers with DSC capability and meeting Australian
standards are already available. VHF transceivers with DSC facilities and
meeting Australian standards are also available, but may be of more limited
use. Eventually it is expected that DSC will be common in all small vessel
marine transceivers except those operating on the 27 MHz band. Some
manufacturers may provide kits for adding DSC capability to existing MF/HF
and VHF radiotelephony-only transceivers.

70.2

Whilst DSC transceivers for large vessels are capable of a full range of DSC
services, those intended for the recreational and small vessel market
generally have fewer options. However, all contain the ability to use DSC for
distress alerting, distress and routine call acknowledgment, and all stations
and single station alerting. The ability to transmit position information, either
from a GPS receiver interface or from manual entry, may also be provided.

70.3

Search and rescue authorities strongly recommend connection of a ship


station DSC transceiver to a GPS receiver to ensure that accurate and current
position information is automatically transmitted in the case of a Distress Alert.

70.4

Some MF/HF transceivers may offer the option of sequentially scanning all
MF/HF DSC frequencies for alerts.

47

70.5

Whilst DSC operational procedures are not difficult, and in most cases simply
parallel standard radiotelephony procedures, operators of DSC-capable
equipment must ensure that they are entirely familiar with the manufacturer's
instructions concerning controls and programming, particularly those
concerning transmission and reception of priority calls.

70.6

Radiotelephony only MF/HF and VHF transceivers are not capable of


encoding or decoding DSC Alerts.

70.7

DSC should not be confused with the proprietary selective calling systems
(selcall) presently available on some MF/HF marine transceivers. These
systems are not compatible with international DSC signalling standards.

71.

DSC Identification

71.1

To use DSC techniques, a MF/HF or VHF transceiver must be permanently


programmed with a unique nine digit identification number known as a
Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI). This can be regarded as the
electronic equivalent of a radiotelephony call sign and uniquely identifies that
maritime communication, limited coast, or ship station. !"

71.2

The MMSI is automatically included in all DSC transmissions from a station


and electronically identifies that station to the receiving station(s). The MMSI
also acts as an "electronic filter" whilst the transceiver is operating in the
watchkeeping mode to ensure that only routine DSC Alerts intended for that
station are actually decoded and displayed. The filter is deactivated when any
DSC Alert carrying a distress priority indicator is received as these messages
are implicitly addressed to all stations. Similarly, DSC urgency and safety
Alerts which are not specifically addressed to a particular station will be
received by all stations within radio range and keeping a DSC watch. !"

71.3

Three of the nine digits of a MMSI identify country of origin. In the case of a
maritime communication station or limited coast station these digits indicate
the country of location, and in the case of a ship station, the country of
registration. The remaining six digits uniquely identify the station itself. The
three digits identifying country are known as Maritime Identification Digits or
MIDs. Australia's MID is 503 with these figures forming the first three digits for
ship stations, and third to fifth digits for maritime communication station or
limited coast stations.

71.4

An Australian ship station MMSI will be formed 503xxxxxx where x is any


figure from 0 to 9.

71.5

An Australian limited coast station MMSI will be formed 00503xxxx where the
first two figures are zeros and x is any figure from 0 to 9. The MMSI for both
Australian maritime communication stations is 005030001.

71.6

At present, any person purchasing a VHF or MF/HF transceiver with DSC


capability and wishing to use the option must obtain a MMSI which is issued
by AMSA. This must then be programmed into the transceiver. See the AMSA
website for more information (http://www.amsa.gov.au/AUSSAR/mmsi.htm#form).

71.7

A full international list of MIDs appears in Appendix 43 of the Radio


Regulations published by the International Telecommunication Union.

72.

Information Contained in a DSC Alert

72.1

A DSC Alert contains the following information as digitised data:

48

the identity of the calling station (MMSI);

the priority of the alert - distress, urgency, safety or routine; and

the station being called (a specific station or all stations) !"

72.2

The alert may also contain data indicating the frequency or channel on which
subsequent communications are to be conducted. Normally, but not
necessarily, this is the associated radiotelephony frequency/channel (see
paragraph 73.1). However, if frequency/channel information is not contained in
the alert, it is always the associated radiotelephony frequency or channel.

72.3

In the case of DSC distress alerts, the position of a vessel, either directly from
an electronic interface with a GPS receiver, or by manual entry may also be
included.

72.4

The use of priority DSC alerts (distress, urgency and safety) is subject to
exactly the same requirements as outlined in chapter 4 of this handbook.

73.

Frequencies for DSC Distress, Urgency and Safety Alerts

73.1

Frequencies have been internationally allocated in the MF/HF and VHF


marine bands for DSC distress, urgency and safety alerts. In each case there
is a radiotelephony frequency directly associated with the DSC frequency for
communications subsequent to the DSC alert. Only the HF DSC frequencies,
indicated with an asterisk (*), are monitored by Australian maritime
communication stations. The other DSC frequencies may not be monitored in
your area. The DSC and associated radiotelephony frequencies are:
DSC freq

Associated radiotelephony freq

2187.5 kHz

2182 kHz

4207.5 kHz*

4125 kHz

6312 kHz*

6215 kHz

8414.5 kHz*

8291kHz

12577 kHz*

12290 kHz

16804.5 kHz*

16420 kHz

VHF Ch 70

VHF Ch 16

! (" VHF channel only)


73.2

The MF/HF DSC frequencies indicated above are reserved exclusively for
DSC alerts associated with distress, urgency and safety messages. !

73.3

Marine VHF channel 70 may additionally be used for routine station-to-station


DSC alerts. !"

73.4

DSC is not used in the 27 MHz marine band, and Australian maritime
communication stations no longer monitor the MF and VHF bands.

73.5

Unless the frequency/channel is specifically indicated in the DSC alert then


radiotelephony communications should follow on the associated
radiotelephony distress and calling frequency. For example, on 2182 kHz after
a DSC alert on 2187.5 kHz, or on VHF channel 16 after a DSC alert on VHF
channel 70. !"

73.6

Some DSC equipment will automatically change frequency/channel on


reception of an alert. Automatic switching will occur to the associated
frequency/channel, or if data is included in the alert, to that indicated.

49

73.7

50

Radiotelephony transmissions are prohibited on the MF/HF frequencies and


VHF channel allocated for DSC. !"

74.

Frequencies for Routine DSC Alerts

74.1

DSC techniques may also be used by ship stations for the purposes of setting
up commercial (public correspondence) communications. Frequencies have
been internationally allocated for these purposes.

74.2

The DSC alert format will allow a ship station to select a particular maritime
communication station (by its MMSI) and programme in details of a desired
telephone number. The burst of data transmitted would enable fully automated
contact between the vessel and the shore subscriber.

74.3

DSC facilities for public correspondence are not currently provided in Australia.

74.4

Routine ship to ship DSC alerts should be made only on VHF channel 70 and
will require the sender to know and programme the MMSI of the vessel to be
called. !"

75.

Watchkeeping on DSC Distress, Urgency and Safety


Frequencies

75.1

Australia maritime communication stations maintain a continuous watch only


on the HF DSC frequencies identified in 73.1 for distress, urgency and safety
alerts. !

75.2

Maritime communication stations do not provide watchkeeping on MF (2187.5


kHz) or on VHF channel 70. !"

75.3

As DSC-capable equipment penetrates the small vessel market it is expected


that limited coast stations operated by volunteer marine organisations may
provide some DSC watchkeeping on MF/HF and VHF for distress, urgency
and safety alerts. This is likely to be in addition to traditional loudspeaker
watchkeeping on radiotelephony frequencies and channels.

75.4

Large trading vessels maintain a continuous watch on VHF channel 70, 2187.5
kHz, 8414.5 kHz and one other HF DSC frequency appropriate to the time of
day and position of the ship. Compulsory watchkeeping by these vessels on
2182 kHz has been discontinued but watchkeeping on VHF channel 16 has
been extended until the year 2005. See also paragraph 69.12.

75.5

Small vessels with DSC capability may wish to scan those DSC
frequencies/channel appropriate to the type of radio equipment carried and
their area of operation. However, it must be kept in mind that it will be many
years before DSC capability is universal in small vessel equipment.

75.6

Because of the large distances that radio signals can travel, distress alerts
from all over the world may be received by stations scanning the higher HF
DSC frequencies. Once such an alert is received a station has an obligation to
continue its involvement until it can be assured that it has no part to play. Ship
and limited coast stations may therefore wish to limit their DSC scanning, for
example 2, 4 and 6 MHz during the day, and 2 and 4 MHz during hours of
darkness.

75.7

There is a high probability that a distress alert received on VHF channel 70 or


on 2187.5 kHz will be local and it is recommended that these are monitored if
a DSC facility is fitted. !"

76.

DSC Alert Formats

76.1

The international DSC system provides for the following types of alerts.

Distress alert - these calls are implicitly addressed to all stations.


The alert contains the vessel's MMSI, position, and possibly the
nature of the distress.

Distress alert acknowledgment - normally only sent by maritime


communication stations and limited coast stations in response to a
distress alert. May be used by ship stations only under certain
circumstances.

Distress alert relay - normally only sent by maritime communication


stations and limited coast stations. May be used by ship stations
only under certain circumstances.

All ship (all station) - used to alert all stations that an urgency or
safety broadcast will follow.

Single ship (single station) - used to alert a particular station to a


urgency or safety message to follow. Some small vessel equipment
may not permit the inclusion of the urgency or safety priority. This
call is also used to alert another station to a routine call. The MMSI
of the desired station must always be known and manually entered
into the transceiver. !"

76.2

It is essential that operators of DSC-capable equipment are familiar with the


particular alert options provided on the transceiver in use. It should be noted
that the "all ship" format includes maritime communication stations and limited
coast stations. Similarly the "single ship" format is used to address a particular
maritime communication station or limited coast station. !"

76.3

Some small vessel DSC-capable transceivers may not provide a distress alert
relay format.

77.

DSC Distress Alert Procedures

77.1

A distress alert from a vessel may be transmitted only on the authority of the
master or skipper, or the person responsible for the safety of that vessel. It
has absolute priority over all other transmissions and indicates that the vessel
or person using it is threatened by grave and imminent danger and requests
immediate assistance. All stations which receive a distress alert must
immediately cease all transmissions capable of interfering with distress
communications. !"

77.2

The distress alert should include the vessel's last known position and the time
when it was valid. !"

77.3

Distress position information will normally be included automatically from an


interface with satellite positioning equipment such as GPS. Some transceivers
may permit position information to be inserted manually. Some transceivers
may also offer the option of selecting from a menu and transmitting the nature
of distress , for example, "on fire", "collision".

77.4

Once selected and initiated, a DSC distress alert will continue to be


automatically repeated until terminated by the operator, or when a DSC
distress alert acknowledgment is generated by another station and is received
and decoded by the distressed vessel. !"

77.5

The DSC distress alert from a vessel is transmitted as follows:

51

adjust the transceiver to an appropriate DSC distress channel (VHF


channel 70, 2187.5 kHz etc);

if time permits, key in or select:


- the nature of distress (from a standard menu if provided)
- the vessel's position (not necessary with a GPS interface);

initiate a distress alert;

adjust the transceiver to the radiotelephony channel/frequency


associated with the channel/frequency that the DSC alert was
made; and

transmit the standard radiotelephony distress call and message


described in paragraphs 57-58 of this handbook " (the two tone
radiotelephony alarm signal should precede this message if
transmitted on 2182 kHz). !

77.6

Whilst these procedures may appear time-consuming, it is possible that all the
vital information for the distress alert can be transmitted by a single button
push. In a worst-case scenario where any further radio transmissions are not
possible, the distressed vessel can be reasonably assured on having
broadcast a distress alert containing its identity and its position.

77.7

All of the information transmitted in a DSC distress alert is decoded and


displayed on other DSC-capable transceivers scanning the frequency/channel
and is accompanied by an audible alarm to alert the operator. The broadcast
of the radiotelephony distress call and message on a radiotelephony
frequency/channel further alerts and advises stations of the distress situation.
!"
Steps to transmit a DSC distress alert and subsequent distress call and
message !"
Select
DSC
Distress
Channel

Change to
Associated
Radiotelephony
channel

Transmit
Radiotelephony
Distress Call
and Message

78.

Acknowledgment of Receipt of a DSC Distress Alert on 2187.5


kHz or VHF Channel 70

78.1

Ship stations receiving a distress alert from another vessel should take note of
the contents and immediately listen on 2182 kHz or VHF Channel 16 for the
MAYDAY message that should follow. !"

78.2

If the MAYDAY message is received and the receiving ship is able to provide
assistance, then a radiotelephony acknowledgment (RECEIVED MAYDAY)
should be sent to the distressed vessel on 2182 kHz or VHF channel 16, and
an appropriate maritime communication station or limited coast station
advised. !"

78.3

If the receiving ship is not able to provide assistance, and other stations are
heard indicating involvement in the distress situation, then no acknowledgment
should be sent. !"

78.4

In situations where a ship station has received a DSC distress alert and
a)

52

Initiate
DSC
Distress
Alert

no MAYDAY message has been heard on 2182 kHz or VHF


channel 16 within 5 minutes; and

b)

no other station is heard communicating with the distressed vessel;


and

c)

the DSC distress alert continues to be received;

then the ship which received the DSC distress alert should transmit a
radiotelephony acknowledgment substituting the distressed vessel's MMSI for
its name and call sign, if necessary. Immediately following this, the receiving
ship must contact an appropriate maritime communication station or limited
coast station and fully advise it of the situation.
78.5

In situations where a ship station has received a DSC distress alert and
a)

no MAYDAY message has been heard on 2182 kHz or VHF


channel 16 within 5 minutes; and

b)

no other station is heard communicating with the distressed vessel; and

c)

the DSC distress alert is not continuing;

then no acknowledgment should be sent and the receiving ship should


immediately contact an appropriate maritime communication station or limited
coast station and fully advise it of the situation.

Actions by ships upon reception of DSC Distress Alert on VHF channel 16 or


2187.5 kHz.
DSC
Distress
Alert is
received

Listen on VHF
Channel 16 or
2182 kHz for
5 minutes

Note: In situations where own vessel is unable to assist but other


stations are not heard communicating with the vessel in distress then a
coast or limited coast station must be advised immediately

NO
Is MAYDAY
message heard?

Are
other stations
communicating
with the
distressed
vessel?

YES

YES

Is own vessel
able to assist?

YES

NO

NO
Is the DSC
distress alert
continuing?

YES
Acknowledge
alert by
radiotelephony
to distressed
ship on
VHF 16 or
2182 kHz

NO
Enter details
in radio log

Inform maritime
communication
or limited coast
station

53

79.

Acknowledgment of Receipt of a DSC Distress Alert on 4207.5,


6312, 8414.5, 12577 or 16804.5 kHz

79.1

Ship stations receiving a DSC distress alert from another vessel should take
note of the contents and immediately listen on the associated radiotelephony
frequency for the MAYDAY message that should follow. !

79.2

If the MAYDAY message is received and the receiving ship is able to provide
assistance, then an appropriate maritime communication station or limited
coast station should be contacted with an offer to provide that assistance. !

79.3

If the receiving ship is not able to provide assistance, and other stations are
heard indicating involvement in the distress situation, then no further action
need be taken. !

79.4

In situations where a ship station has received a DSC distress alert and
a)

no MAYDAY message has been heard on the associated


radiotelephony channel within 5 minutes; and

b)

no other station is heard communicating with the distressed vessel;

then the receiving ship should transmit a DSC distress relay to an appropriate
maritime communication station or limited coast station. !
Actions by ships upon reception of DSC distress alert on 4207.5, 8414.5, 12577 or
16804.5 kHz
DSC
Distress
Alert is
received

Listen on
Associated
Radiotelephony
frequency for
5 minutes

Note 1: In situations where own vessel is unable to assist but other


stations are not heard communicating with the vessel in distress then a
coast or limited coast station must be advised immediately.
Note 2: See caution in paragraph 80.6

NO
Is MAYDAY
message heard?

Are
other stations
communicating
with the
distressed
vessel?

YES

YES

Is own vessel
able to assist?

YES

NO

Transmit
DSC distress alert
relay to maritime
communication and
limited coast
station

YES

Contact
maritime
communication
or limited coast
station to offer
assistance

NO
Enter details
in radio log

54

NO

79.5

it should be noted that some large trading vessels have the capability, and
may chose, to conduct communications subsequent to a DSC distress alert by
telex over radio (also known as narrowband direct printing or NBDP) on a
frequency dedicated to this use. This will usually be apparent to a ship or
limited coast station by reference to the final piece of DSC information
received and displayed. If this reads J3E then the vessel will be using
radiotelephony for subsequent traffic. If it reads F1B then the vessel will be
using telex over radio.

80

Transmission of a Distress Alert Relay

80.1

Maritime Communication Stations after having received and acknowledged a


DSC distress alert, will normally retransmit the information as a DSC distress
alert relay. !"

80.2

Ship stations should normally consider transmitting a distress alert relay only
when a distress alert has been received on 4207.5, 6312, 8414.5, 12577 or
16804.5 kHz and no other station is heard communicating with the distressed
vessel on the associated radiotelephony channel. The distress alert relay must
be addressed to an appropriate maritime communication or limited coast
station. The distress alert relay must not be addressed to "all ships". !

80.3

Ship stations receiving a DSC distress alert on either 2187.5 kHz or VHF
Channel 70 should not transmit a distress alert relay. Instead a radiotelephony
acknowledgment should be made to the distressed vessel on 2182 kHz or
VHF channel 16, and the nearest maritime communication station or limited
coast station should be informed. !"

80.4

Ship stations may transmit a DSC distress alert relay in situations where a
distress alert has not been received. However, this is restricted to situations
where it is learnt that another vessel in distress is not able to transmit the
distress alert and the Master of the ship not in distress considers that further
help is necessary. In this case the DSC distress alert relay should be in the
"all ship" format or, preferably, addressed to an appropriate maritime
communication station or limited coast station. !"

80.5

Some small vessel DSC transceivers may not provide a DSC distress alert
relay facility. In these situations a MAYDAY RELAY message on the
associated radiotelephony frequency may be substituted and every endeavour
made to inform a maritime communication station or limited coast station. In
the situation detailed in paragraph 80.3, the MAYDAY RELAY message should
be transmitted on a radiotelephony frequency or channel considered
appropriate to the situation. A MMSI may be used in cases where a vessel's
name and call sign are not known. !

80.6

Operators should exercise careful judgement in relaying DSC distress alerts


received on the higher frequencies as these could be received from and by
vessels at distances of thousands of miles. Indiscriminate relaying will merely
increase the area that stations are alerted without performing any useful
function.

55

81.

Acknowledgment of a DSC Distress Alert Relay

81.1

Where considered appropriate, ship stations receiving a DSC distress alert


relay from another station should acknowledge receipt by radiotelephony on
the associated radiotelephony frequency/channel using the procedures
detailed in paragraph 61 of this handbook.

82.

Cancellation of an Inadvertent DSC Distress Alert

82.1

Unlike radiotelephony procedures, it is possible to inadvertently initiate a DSC


distress alert. Should this occur then it is essential that the initiating station
immediately carry out the following procedures:

immediately switch off the transceiver in question (this will cancel


any automatic repeats of the DSC distress alert which would
normally continue until a DSC acknowledgment is received); then

switch the transceiver back on and select the radiotelephony


frequency/channel associated with the DSC frequency/channel on
which the inadvertent alert was transmitted; then

broadcast an "all stations" radiotelephony message giving the


vessel's name, call sign and MMSI, and cancel the distress alert,
giving an approximate time of the inadvertent transmission. !"

If the inadvertent DSC distress alert was transmitted on several frequencies, it


is necessary to broadcast cancellations on all associated radiotelephony
frequencies.
82.2

If for some reason these procedures cannot be carried out then the station
must use other means to advise authorities that the alert was accidental. !"

82.3

Failure to appropriately advise authorities may result in the distress alert being
treated as genuine and lead to a waste of valuable search and rescue
resources. A ship station operator will not be penalised for reporting an
inadvertent distress alert.

83.

Transmission of a DSC Urgency Alert

83.1

A DSC urgency alert may be transmitted only with the authority of the master
or skipper, or the person responsible for the safety of the vessel. It indicates
that the station has a very urgent message to transmit concerning the safety of
a vessel or aircraft, or the safety of a person. !"

83.2

The transmission of a DSC urgency alert by maritime communication, limited


coast and ship stations is carried out in the following manner:

83.3

56

the announcement of the urgency message by DSC alert on a DSC


frequency/channel; followed by

the transmission of the urgency call and message on the


associated radiotelephony frequency/channel using radiotelephony
procedures. !"

The announcement is carried out by:

tuning the transceiver to the appropriate DSC frequency or channel


(2187.5 kHz, VHF channel 70 etc);

selecting the "all ship" call format;

selecting the urgency priority; and

transmitting the DSC urgency alert !"

83.4

The transmission of the urgency call and message should follow immediately
on the associated radiotelephony frequency/channel using the radiotelephony
procedures detailed in paragraph 67 of this handbook. !"

83.5

Stations receiving a DSC urgency alert should not acknowledge receipt but
simply tune their transceiver to the associated radiotelephony
frequency/channel and await the radiotelephony transmission. !"

83.6

Should the initiating station wish that the urgency alert is received only by a
particular station, then the "single ship" call format should be selected. In this
case the MMSI of the station must be known and programmed into the
transceiver.
Steps to transmit a DSC urgency alert and subsequent urgency call and
message !"
Select
DSC
Distress
Channel

Initiate
DSC
Urgency
Alert

Change to
Associated
Radiotelephony
channel

Transmit
Radiotelephony
Urgency Call
and Message

84.

Transmission of a DSC Safety Alert

84.1

The transmission of a DSC safety alert indicates that the station has a
message to transmit concerning an important navigational or weather warning.
!"

84.2

The transmission of a DSC safety alert by maritime communication, limited


coast and ship stations is carried out in the following manner :

84.3

84.4

the DSC announcement of the safety message by DSC alert on a


DSC frequency/channel; followed by

the radiotelephony announcement on the associated


radiotelephony frequency/channel that a safety message will follow
on a working frequency/channel; followed by

the transmission of the safety call and message on a


radiotelephony working frequency/channel. !"

The DSC announcement is carried out by:

tuning the transceiver to the appropriate DSC frequency or channel


(2187.5 kHz, VHF channel 70 etc);

selecting the "all ship" call format;

selecting the safety priority; and

transmitting the DSC safety alert !"

The radiotelephony announcement that a safety message will follow on a


working frequency should follow immediately on the associated
radiotelephony frequency/channel using the procedures detailed in paragraph
68 of this handbook. The radiotelephony working frequency/channel should be
announced. !"

57

84.5

The transmission of the safety call and message should follow immediately on
the chosen radiotelephony working frequency/channel using the procedures
detailed in paragraph 68 of this handbook. !"

84.6

Stations receiving a DSC safety alert should not acknowledge receipt but
simply tune their transceiver to the associated radiotelephony
frequency/channel and await the radiotelephony announcement. !"

84.7

Should the initiating station wish that the safety alert is received only by a
particular station, then the "single ship" call format should be selected. In this
case the MMSI of the station must be known and programmed into the
transceiver.
Steps to transmit a DSC safety alert and subsequent safety call and
message !"
Select
DSC
Distress
Channel

Initiate
DSC
Safety
Alert

Change to
Associated
Radiotelephony
Channel

Transmit
Radiotelephony
Safety Call and
Announce
Message
follows on
Working
channel

Change to
working
Channel

Transmit
Radiotelephony
Safety Call and
Message

Paras 85 to 88 are reserved for future use.

58

Public Correspondence
Communications

Chapter Six

Section 14 Radiotelegram Service

The radiotelegram service offered by


Australian coast stations closed in
February 1999.

Paragraphs 89 to 94 are left deliberately blank

60

Section 15 Radphone Services


The Radphone HF and Radphone Direct Dial HF services offered by Telstra
through Australian coast stations closed on 28 February 2002.

95.

Alternatives to Radphone Services

95.1

An alternative services to the HF Radphone product is the VHF Seaphone


system described in Section 16.

95.2

Other alternatives include satellite telephone products offered by a number of


providers. Inmarsat-M, Optus MobileSat, Vodaphone Globalstar and Iridium all
provide voice, fax and low to medium speed data communications. However,
maritime users should be aware that at 1 January 2002 only Inmarsat-A, B
and C services were compatible with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety
System (GMDSS), providing the full range of MSI and direct access to
Rescue Coordination Centres (RCC) throughout the world in case of
emergency.

95.2

Another alternative to HF Radphone is Penta Comstat (02 6559 1888), a


privately operated coast station in northern NSW, which offers telephone
interconnect and a range of other services to members via HF radio. Penta
Comstat provides coverage of Australia's eastern coastal waters and much of
the Pacific Ocean.

95.3

Depending on location, seafarers may also have the option of using foreign
coast stations, as detailed in section 30.

95.4

In addition, a number of providers of land mobile radio services (ie not using
maritime mobile frequencies) offer telephone interconnect and other services
to operators with compatible radio equipment.

Paragraphs 96 to 98 are left deliberately blank

61

Section 16 VHF Radiotelephone: Auto Seaphone

62

99.

General

99.1

For ship stations with the necessary option fitted to their VHF marine radio
equipment, the computerised Auto Seaphone service provided by Telstra
allows direct dialling of telephone subscribers through numerous unmanned
land stations. No Telstra operator connection is required. For vessels not
suitably equipped, a manual service is available. !"

99.2

Auto Seaphone also allows semi-automatic connection of shore to ship


telephone calls.

99.3

The Auto Seaphone service covers virtually the entire eastern seaboard of
mainland Australia from Cooktown in Queensland to Port Phillip Bay in
Victoria. Other major population centres in Tasmania, South Australia, Western
Australia and the Northern Territory are also served.

99.4

Ship station operators making Auto Seaphone calls should be aware that most
small ship radiotelephony equipment is not capable of transmitting and
receiving simultaneously. In these circumstances, unlike a normal land
telephone conversation, it is not possible for both parties to speak at the same
time and be heard by each other. It is suggested, therefore, that each person
finishing a part of a conversation and expecting a response from the other,
should use the word "over". This will ensure the most efficient use of time on
air.

99.5

For further details on Seaphone services contact the Telstra Radio Customer
Service Centre on 1800 253 271 (9am to 6pm Eastern Standard Time Monday to Friday).

100.

Auto Seaphone Identity

100.1

Transceivers with the Auto Seaphone facility have a unique inbuilt numerical
identity which must be registered with Telstra. This identity number is
transmitted every time the direct dialling facility is used. Failure to register
details with Telstra will prevent "recognition" by the shore computer and,
therefore, access to the Auto Seaphone system. Telstra will accept
registration by telephone on Freecall 1800 253 271 (9am to 6pm Eastern
Standard Time - Monday to Friday).

101.

Ship to Shore Auto Seaphone Calls

101.1

To make an Auto Seaphone call, a ship station must be in VHF


communications range of one of the Auto Seaphone land stations operated by
Telstra. Details of these stations may be found in Telstra publications.

101.2

A ship station wishing to make an Auto Seaphone call should first select an
appropriate VHF channel for its location. After being satisfied there is no call
already in progress, the telephone keypad should be used to dial the required
telephone number. An STD code (or IDD code in the case of international
calls) should be used. The shore-based computer system will validate the call
and a brief recorded voice announcement will follow that the call is being
connected. Once the subscriber has answered, the conversation can be
conducted in the normal radiotelephone manner (see paragraph 99.4
regarding use of the word "over").

101.3

A recorded voice will advise the ship station if the call cannot be connected for
any reason.

101.4

Details of ship to shore Auto Seaphone calls should be retained for twelve
months.

102.

Shore to Ship Auto Seaphone Calls

102.1

A person wishing to place a radiotelephone call to a ship equipped with Auto


Seaphone equipment should telephone Freecall 12458. This will connect that
person directly to an operator at the Telstra Customer Service Centre. The
person should advise the operator of the vessel's name, approximate position
and Auto Seaphone identity, and their own name and telephone number. This
information is lodged by the operator into the computer system.

102.2

The information remains stored in the computer system until the ship station
interrogates the system after selecting the appropriate channel for the land
base in its area. The system will advise the ship station to stand-by and then
telephone the person who wished to make the call. When that person
answers, the call can take place in the normal radiotelephone manner.

102.3

A ship station can interrogate the shore-based computer system at any time to
determine if there are any outstanding calls for it. If there are no calls, a
recorded voice will make a suitable announcement.

102.4

It is emphasised that shore to ship Auto Seaphone calls cannot be connected


until the ship station interrogates the computer.

103.

The Auto Seaphone 999 Emergency Service

103.1

Where a service on VHF channels 16 or 67 is provided by a limited coast


station it should be the primary VHF means of distress and urgency
communications. Telstra's 999 emergency service supplements this service for
VHF ship stations. !"

103.2

If a distress or urgency call on VHF channel 16 or 67 has been unsuccessful,


a ship station operator may attract attention by selecting an appropriate Auto
Seaphone channel for its location and using the keypad entry 999. !"

103.3

If the channel is not occupied with another call, or under most circumstances
even when the channel is occupied, the 999 emergency signal will be
received by the land base and recognised by the computer system. An alarm
will be given at and information will be immediately available to the operator
concerning the vessel's name, call sign, owner's name, address and
telephone number. !"

103.4

An "all ships" announcement on the channel will follow declaring an


emergency, and the land base will be switched to the "talk-through" mode,
allowing all signals from the vessel with the emergency to be heard by other
stations listening on the channel.

103.5

Ship station operators should be aware that, for various reasons, there are
times when a 999 call may fail even though they are in range of one of the
many Auto Seaphone land bases. Vessels making coastal voyages entirely
within the Auto Seaphone coverage area, but outside of range of limited coast
stations keeping a continuous watch on VHF distress channels, are
encouraged to install MF/HF equipment. Such equipment should be fitted with
digital selective calling distress frequencies that can provide sufficient range to
contact a maritime communication station, day and night.

63

64

104.

The Auto Seaphone 333 Service

104.1

The Auto Seaphone system may also be used for making ship to ship
radiotelephone calls where direct ship to ship communications are not
possible. However, both ships must be in range of the same Auto Seaphone
base and be monitoring the same Auto Seaphone channel.

104.2

By selecting an appropriate Auto Seaphone channel and dialling 333, a ship


station operator can switch the land base into a "talk-through" mode, greatly
increasing the range of the signals. Providing the wanted vessel is monitoring
the channel, normal radiotelephone conversation may take place.

104.3

Telstra charges for this service on a time-connected basis.

Section 17 Radiotelex Services


The Telex over Radio services offered by Telstra are no longer available. Similar
options provided by other organisations have replaced this service.

Paragraph 105 is left deliberately blank

65

66

Emergency Position Indicating


Radio Beacons (EPIRBs)
Important: The signal from an EPIRB is regarded
by authorities as a signal of distress and is given
an appropriate response. It is the responsibility of every
owner of an EPIRB to ensure that it is not activated
unintentionally, or in situations that do not justify its use.
Owners are urged to pay careful attention to paragraphs
120.1 to 120.3 of this handbook. !"
Should an owner discover that an EPIRB has been
accidentally activated, information must be passed
immediately to the telephone number provided in paragraph
120.3 If at sea, information should be immediately passed
to a maritime communication station, another vessel or to a
limited coast station operated by a marine rescue
organisation for relaying to the Rescue Coordination Centre
in Canberra. Search and rescue authorities will not penalise
an EPIRB owner or operator in cases of genuinely
accidental operation. !"

Chapter Seven
67

Section 18 EPIRBs - General Information


Important Note
Users and prospective purchasers of 121.5/243 MHz EPIRBs should be aware
that there are international moves to phase-out satellite-aided alerting and
location of this type of beacon. This changeover is similar to the changeover
from analogue to digital mobile phones that occurred recently in Australia. At the
time of publication, no firm date for termination of the service had been agreed
but is unlikely to be before 2008. EPIRBs operating on 406 MHz will be
unaffected.

68

106.

General

106.1

An emergency position indicating radio beacon or EPIRB is a small, selfcontained, battery-operated radio transmitter which is both watertight and
buoyant. !"

106.2

The essential purpose of an EPIRB is to assist in determining the position of


survivors in search and rescue operations. !"

106.3

An EPIRB should not be carried as an alternative to an approved marine radio


transceiver. It should be considered as a supplement rather than a
replacement.

106.4

Commonwealth and State legislation compel many vessels to carry EPIRBs.


However, the importance of carrying a suitable EPIRB aboard every vessel
proceeding more than a few miles offshore, or making a coastal or overseas
voyage cannot be too highly emphasised.

106.5

Activation of most EPIRBs is a simple two step action. However, owners


should familiarise themselves with the manufacturers instructions.

106.6

Once activated, an EPIRB should not be switched off until told to do so by a


rescue authority, or until rescue is completed.

106.7

Individual radiocommunications licences are not required for EPIRBs: they are
authorised under a class licence.However, in respect of 406 MHz type
beacons, it is important that they are registered with the Rescue Coordination
Centre in Canberra (RCC Australia). RCC Australia is operated by the
Australian Maritime Safety Authority and registration is free. See paragraphs
116.1 to 116.4.

106.8

Emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) designed for aircraft use are neither
suitable nor recommended for shipboard use.

106.9

Personal EPIRBs are available which are designed to be attached to a


lifejacket, carried in a pocket, or around the neck. Due to lack of ballast, this
type of EPIRB will not float upright and for proper operation, must be kept in
an upright position by the user. Personal EPIRBs should not be confused with
Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) which are designed for land use and may
not be suitable for use in a marine environment.

107.

Types of EPIRB

107.1

There are two types of approved EPIRB available in Australia which are
suitable for small vessel use:

a small, inexpensive type which operates on the aircraft VHF


frequencies of 121.5 and 243 MHz and which may be designed
either for carriage on a vessel or for attachment to a lifejacket; and

the more expensive and sophisticated type which operates on the


frequency of 406.025 MHz with the addition of 121.5 MHz
transmitted for aircraft homing (usually referred to as a 406 MHz
EPIRB). !"

107.2

Once activated, both types are capable of being detected and located by
aircraft and a specialised satellite-aided system known as COSPAS-SARSAT.
!"

108.

The COSPAS-SARSAT International Satellite System

108.1

The COSPAS-SARSAT system is a satellite-aided search and rescue system


designed to locate activated EPIRBs transmitting on 121.5 and 406.025 MHz.
!"

108.2

Some satellites used by the COSPAS-SARSAT system can also detect


EPIRBs operating on 243 MHz. Military search aircraft and some civil search
aircraft are capable of homing on 243 MHz.

108.3

The system is intended to serve all organisations in the world with a


responsibility for search and rescue operations, wherever a distress situation
may occur.

108.4

It uses several satellites, each making a complete polar orbit in about 100
minutes.

108.5

At least one of these satellites is within "line-of-sight" of any point on the


Earth's surface at a maximum interval of approximately three hours. The
average interval is considerably less.

108.6

Many countries have ground receiving facilities, known as local user terminals
or LUTs, to receive information relayed by the satellites from activated
EPIRBs.

108.7

Australia has established LUTs at Bundaberg Qld and Albany WA. These
terminals are linked directly by landline to the COSPAS-SARSAT Mission
Control Centre at RCC Australia in Canberra.

108.8

Another LUT for the southwest Pacific region is situated in Wellington, New
Zealand. This terminal is operated by the NZ Civil Aviation Authority, and is
also directly linked to the RCC Australia in Canberra.

69

Section 19 121.5/243 MHz EPIRBs

70

109.

Methods of detection and location

109.1

A 121.5/243 MHz EPIRB, once activated, simultaneously radiates a continuous


series of distinctive descending tones on the aeronautical distress frequencies
of 121.5 and 243 MHz. Providing its batteries are in good condition, this signal
should continue to be transmitted for a minimum of forty-eight hours. The
signal can be detected and located by:

aircraft within range which are listening on either the civil


aeronautical distress frequency of 121.5 MHz or the military
aeronautical distress frequency of 243 MHz; and

the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system.

110.

Detection and Location by Aircraft

110.1

Military, civil international and some domestic aircraft on major air routes
maintain a listening watch on one of the aeronautical distress frequencies of
121.5 and 243 MHz. The distance that such an aircraft is likely to detect an
activated EPIRB depends entirely on the height of the aircraft. A high flying
passenger jet aircraft would probably hear the signal at a radius of about 330
km (180 nautical miles), while a smaller aircraft flying at medium altitudes
would hear the signal within about 185 km (100 nautical miles).

110.2

An aircraft hearing an activated EPIRB will immediately make a report to


aviation authorities who, in turn, will pass this information to the RCC. An
approximate position estimate of the activated EPIRB can be made by plotting
the "first heard" and "last heard" positions.

110.3

Once a general search area has been established, military or civilian aircraft
with specialised direction-finding equipment will be used for the task of
localising the EPIRB. Survivors should use all appropriate visual signals to
attract the attention of searching aircraft during the final stages.

111.

Detection and Location by Satellite

111.1

Signals radiated from a satellite-compatible 121.5/243 MHz EPIRB can also be


detected by the COSPAS-SARSAT system's orbiting satellites. These signals
are relayed by a satellite directly back towards the Earth. If the activated
EPIRB and the ground receiving facilities of a local user terminal (LUT) are
simultaneously within view of the satellite, the EPIRB signals are received by
the LUT.

111.2

This information is processed by the LUT to provide position information and


then is passed directly to RCC Australia in Canberra. Successive satellite
passes are used to refine this information.

111.3

A 121.5/243 MHz EPIRB can generally be located by the COSPAS-SARSAT


system to within 20 km (11 nautical miles). Aircraft can be used for the final
location of the distress position as described in paragraph 110.3.

111.4

Because of the requirement that an orbiting satellite must simultaneously "see"


both the activated EPIRB and a LUT, detection and location of 121.5/243 MHz
EPIRBs is limited to particular geographical areas surrounding a LUT. !"

111.5

The diagram shows the approximate geographical limits and median detection
time for 121.5/243 MHz EPIRBs using the combined resources of the LUTs in
Queensland, Western Australia and New Zealand.

COSPAS-SARSAT system coverage for 121.5/243 MHz EPIRBs using local user terminals
located in Queensland, Western Australia and New Zealand. Median time to detect and
locate an activated beacon is also shown. (The lighter shading indicates Australia's area
of responsibility for search and rescue.)

111.6

It can be seen from the diagram that the 121.5/243 MHz EPIRB can provide
significant support to search and rescue operations in all Australian and New
Zealand coastal waters. Parts of the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans, the
Timor Sea and waters around Papua New Guinea also fall into the service
area of the three LUTs.

111.7

Although LUTs established in other countries provide a service for 121.5/243


MHz EPIRBs in other areas, major parts of the Indian, South Atlantic and
Pacific Oceans remain uncovered.

111.8

Vessels making voyages outside 121.5/243 MHz service areas should carry a
406 MHz EPIRB. It is recommended that vessels proceeding more than 30
nautical miles offshore carry a 406 MHz EPIRB.

112.

Satellite Detection and Location of Older 121.5/243 EPIRBs

112.1

Because of the sophisticated technology used in the COSPAS-SARSAT


satellite detection and location system, the ACA (and its predecessors) has
enforced stringent technical standards for 121.5/243 MHz EPIRBs
manufactured and sold after March 1990.

112.2

All EPIRBs manufactured to this standard, which the Radiocommunications


Standard (121.5 MHz and 243.0 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio
Beacons) No.1 of 1996, are capable of being detected and located by
satellites in the manner described in paragraphs 111.1 - 111.4. This standard
may also be known as Australian/New Zealand standard AS/NZS 4330:1995,
and was previously known as Ministerial Standard 241 (MS241).

71

72

112.3

Tests carried out by search and rescue authorities on earlier models of


121.5/243 MHz EPIRBs, which are likely to bear a label certifying compliance
with specification DOC 241A or 241B, show that very few of them are likely to
be detected by the satellite system. Of those beacons which were detected,
the calculated positions were inaccurate and misleading.

112.4

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has stated that an owner of a
121.5/243 MHz EPIRB manufactured prior to 1990 should assume that this
beacon is incompatible with the satellite system. The Authority strongly
recommends that boat owners replace older EPIRBs with a type that meets
AS/NZS 4330:1995, or the earlier MS 241 standard.

Section 20 406 MHz EPIRBs


113.

Methods of Detection and Location

113.1

The 406 MHz EPIRB radiates signals on the frequency of 406.025 MHz.
Those 406 MHz EPIRBs manufactured to Australian specifications will
additionally radiate signals on 121.5 MHz for aircraft homing purposes.
Australian 406 MHz EPIRBs can be detected and located by two methods:

by aircraft within range listening on the civil aeronautical distress


frequency of 121.5 MHz; and

by the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system.

114.

Detection and Location by Aircraft

114.1

The method of detection and location of the 121.5 MHz signal component of a
406 MHz EPIRB by aircraft is similar to that described in paragraphs 110.1 110.3 for 121.5/243 MHz EPIRBs.

115.

Detection and Location by Satellite

115.1

Signals radiating from an activated 406 MHz EPIRB will be detected by


satellites of the COSPAS-SARSAT system and relayed back towards the
Earth. These signals are similar to those from a 121.5/243 EPIRB, and in a
like manner, will be received by any LUT in the satellite's view.

115.2

Because signals from a 406 MHz EPIRB are in a digitised form, they can also
be stored in the satellite's memory. As the satellite's path brings it into view of
a LUT, information, including time of first detection, is retrieved from the
satellite's memory and relayed down to the LUT. This information is processed
and passed to a rescue coordination centre, providing both an alert and a
position.

115.3

A 406 MHz EPIRB can generally be located by the satellite system to a radius
of better than 5 km (2.7 nautical miles). Final location of the distress scene
can be carried out by aircraft "homing" on the 121.5 MHz component of the
EPIRB signal.

115.4

Because of the satellite's ability to memorise signals from a 406 MHz EPIRB,
detection and location of this type of beacon does not suffer the geographical
limitations of the 121.5/243 MHz model. An activated 406 MHz EPIRB can be
detected and located at any place on the Earth's surface. !"

115.5

It is strongly recommended that all vessels making a voyage from Australia to


any destination outside the limits of 121.5/243 MHz beacon coverage carry a
406 MHz EPIRB.

115.6

406 MHz EPIRBs have numerous advantages over the 121.5/243 MHz types.
These advantages include:

the ability to be located more accurately;

identification of the owner/operator enables search and rescue


authorities to obtain more intelligence before initiating a response;

future generation beacons will have the capability of detection by


geostationary satellites enabling near instantaneous detection; and

73

74

future generation beacons will have the capability of transmitting


position data memorised from an interface with satellite navigation
receivers (GPS).

116.

Identification of 406 MHz EPIRBs

116.1

Every 406 MHz EPIRB has a unique identity code which is transmitted as part
of its signal and which also indicates the country of registration. This code is
programmed into the beacon by the supplier before it is offered for purchase.
!"

116.2

As a result, local user terminals anywhere in the world receiving a distress


alert and location from an activated 406 MHz EPIRB, can also identify the
vessel in distress and the beacon's country of registration.

116.3

If this system is to work successfully, and for their own safety, it is essential
that purchasers of 406 MHz EPIRBs complete the registration form provided
by the supplier and mail it to RCC Australia in Canberra. The completion of
this registration process will ensure that the RCC is equipped with information
vital to a successful rescue mission. !"

116.4

It is just as important that purchasers of second-hand 406 MHz EPIRBs, also


provide their details to the RCC.

117.

Activation of 406 MHz EPIRBs

117.1

406 MHz beacons are available in two types:

those that require manual activation; and

those that can be activated manually or will float-free and activate


automatically should a vessel sink.

117.2

The manual activation type may offer an electronic menu of distress situations.
Selection by an operator prior to activation will provide the rescue coordination
centre with an identification of the vessel's type of distress, as well as its
identity and country of origin.

117.3

Vessels compulsorily fitted with 406 MHz EPIRBs under Commonwealth


legislation must carry the float-free type.

Section 21 Care and Maintenance of EPIRBs


118.

Servicing

118.1

Vessels fitted with 121.5/243 and 406 MHz EPIRBs under Commonwealth
and State legislation should refer to the relevant regulations concerning
performance verification tests and battery replacement.

118.2

Boat owners voluntarily carrying EPIRBs of either type should refer to the
owner's manual concerning recommended servicing and battery replacement.

118.3

An EPIRB must not be tested except strictly in accordance with the


manufacturer's instructions for self-testing. !"

119.

Stowage of EPIRBs

119.1

Many EPIRBs are supplied with a bulkhead mounting bracket. It is


recommended that this be used to stow an EPIRB in a place where it is both
readily visible and accessible for use in an emergency.

119.2

If an inflatable liferaft is carried on board, consideration should be given to


stowage of an EPIRB inside the raft.

119.3

The float-free type of 406 MHz EPIRB should be carefully located and
mounted to ensure that it is not fouled by the vessel's superstructure should
the vessel sink and the beacon be released.

120.

Inappropriate Activation of EPIRBs

120.1

Every year valuable government and search and rescue resources are wasted
in locating EPIRBs which have been activated inadvertently or maliciously.
Most cases of accidental transmission result from unsuitable storage, or
failure to totally disable an old model EPIRB before disposal. Theft and
subsequent malicious activation of EPIRBs is an increasing problem and
owners should take every care to minimise opportunities for beacons to be
stolen. The need to treat EPIRBs responsibly cannot be too highly
emphasised. !"

120.2

To minimise the possibilities of accidental activation, EPIRB owners are urged


to pay careful attention to:

the need to avoid the stowage of EPIRBs in lockers with other


equipment or objects that may subject the beacon activation switch
to pressure (vessel movement should be considered);

the need to avoid the stowage of EPIRBs in places where they may
lie in water or be subject to occasional high water pressure such as
from a hose (the entry of water into the circuitry through
deteriorating watertight seals may activate the beacon);

the complete removal of batteries or destruction of an EPIRB


before disposal into the public garbage system;

the need to ensure that an EPIRB will not be activated through


physical movement or shock during any form of transport away
from a vessel;

75

120.3

the need to educate other persons aboard a boat regarding the


consequences of activation;

the need to prevent interference with the beacon by children; and

the fact that a float-free EPIRB which has been "armed" will activate
immediately on removal from its cradle (transportation away from
the cradle should be made in the "safe" or "off" condition).

Should a boat owner suspect that an EPIRB has been activated inadvertently,
this information MUST immediately be passed to RCC Australia in Canberra
on telephone 1800 641 792 (24 hour number).
If accidental activation is discovered whilst at sea, this information should
immediately be passed to a maritime communication station, another vessel,
or to a limited coast station for on-forwarding to the RCC Australia.
In the case of a genuinely accidental activation of an EPIRB, an owner or
operator need have no fear of being penalised by search and rescue
authorities. !" (excluding the phone number)

76

Search and Rescue


in Australia

Chapter Eight
77

Section 22 General Information


Important note: From 1 July 2002 small vessels interested in using the AUSREP
reporting system require High Frequency digital selective calling or Inmarsat
equipment. In particular it is expected that vessels participating in AUSREP
would primarily be using Inmarsat-C with some limited reporting functions on
High Frequency digital selective calling. See 123 or contact the Australian
Maritime Safety Authority for more details.

78

121.

Responsibility

121.1

As a signatory to the International Convention on Maritime Search and


Rescue, Australia has undertaken responsibility for search and rescue
operations of a vast area of the Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans,
representing one-ninth of the world's oceans. The region stretches from
longitude 75E to 163E, northwards to the border of Papua New Guinea and
Indonesia and south to Antarctica.

121.2

Australian maritime and aviation search and rescue (SAR) services are the
responsibility of an organisation called AusSAR (Australian Search and
Rescue).

121.3

AusSAR is a division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) in


Canberra and is the operating authority for the Australian Rescue Coordination
Centre, RCC Australia. RCC Australia has responsibility for coordination of
SAR operations in the area mentioned in paragraph 121.1. !"

121.4

A National Plan, involving both Commonwealth and State/Territory authorities,


delegates the responsibility for the coordination of search and rescue
operations for small vessels such as pleasure vessels and fishing vessels to
State and Territory police forces. !"

121.5

State and Territory police forces, using the resources of recognised marine
rescue organisations such as the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, the Royal
Volunteer Coastal Patrol and Volunteer Marine Rescue, as well as their own
Water Police, coordinate most inshore boating emergencies. !"

122.

Centralised Recording of Small Vessel Particulars

122.1

The owners of small vessels making regular offshore or coastal voyages are
encouraged to lodge particulars of their vessel with RCC Australia. There may
be other centralised recording of small vessel particulars. Contact your
State/Territory authority or local volunteer marine rescue organisation for more
information.

122.2

Information that is required and will be recorded includes type and description
of the vessel, communications and safety equipment carried, owner's details
and next of kin, and the vessel's general operating pattern and area. A recent
photograph of the vessel would be helpful .

122.3

In an emergency, this information may prove vital to the success of rescue


operations.

122.4

Small craft particulars forms are available from police stations in coastal
areas, harbour authorities, marine rescue groups, yacht and boating clubs, any
office of AMSA and the AMSA web site (www.amsa.gov.au/AUSSAR/amsa80.pdf .

122.5

Particulars should be updated at least every three years or whenever a


significant feature of the vessel is altered, for example, a colour scheme.

123.

The Australian Ship Reporting System (AUSREP)

123.1

Participation in the AUSREP system is compulsory for the majority of vessels


subject to the Navigation Act 1912.

123.2

Small vessels may participate on a voluntary basis if they have access to the
required equipment - including HF digital selective calling and / or Inmarsat
and meet certain voyage requirements (see 123.7). However the AUSREP
system is designed for larger vessels mentioned in 123.1 and may not suit the
needs of small vessels.

123.3

The AUSREP system is a ship reporting system which monitors the


movements of vessels undertaking voyages anywhere within Australia's SAR
area (see paragraph 121.1).

123.4

Before departure, a sailing plan is lodged with RCC Australia in Canberra.


Position reports are then sent every twenty-four hours or when changes are
made to the initial sailing plan; and on arrival a final report is made. This
information is used to track the vessel along its entire route.

123.5

Small vessel operators using AUSREP should be aware that it is a positive


reporting system. Once a sailing plan is lodged, failure to make daily reports
or a final arrival report will result in RCC Australia making preliminary checks
to ascertain the vessel's safety. If, after these checks are completed, the
vessel is still unreported or overdue, a further assessment will be made to
determine the next course of action. Broadcasts to shipping to keep a look out
are made and Search action is initiated.

123.6

Vessels suffering radio equipment failure should endeavour to report their


position and intended movement to RCC Australia through another vessel by
whatever means is available.

123.7

All small vessels suitably equipped, including pleasure vessels and fishing
vessels, may participate in AUSREP. No charges are made. However, certain
conditions must be met, including:

123.8

the voyage must be more than twenty-four hours between different


ports, or greater than 200 nautical miles;

a satellite-compatible Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon


(EPIRB) must be carried;

a current small craft particulars form must have been lodged with
the authorities in Canberra (see paragraphs 122.1 - 122.5); and

approved marine GMDSS equipment must be carried which will


enable the vessel to report to the Australian Maritime Safety
Authority throughout the voyage. It is expected that vessels
participating in AUSREP would primarily be using Inmarsat-C with
some limited reporting functions on High Frequency digital selective
calling.

AUSREP reports may be made by contacting RCC Australia on telephone 02


6230 6880 (reverse charges), freecall 1800 641 792, freefax 1800 643 586 or
by transmitting location information through HF digital selective calling or via
Inmarsat to RCC Australia via an Australian maritime communication station.

79

123.9

A brochure, entitled "Reporting Systems for Small Craft", fully detailing the
reporting procedures may be obtained by contacting any AMSA office.
Information about reporting procedures may also be found in the Annual
Australian Notices to Mariners which is obtainable from Hydrographic Offices
and retail outlets specialising in the sale of navigational charts.

123a. Automatic Identification System (AIS)


123a.1 AIS is a shipboard transponder system that makes it possible to monitor ships
from other ships and from shore based stations. Ships equipped with AIS will
continuously transmit their position, course, speed and other relevant data via
dedicated VHF frequencies. Other equipped AIS ships will receive the vessel's
information which can be displayed on Radar (ARPA) or Electronic Charts
(ECDIS).
123a.2 Currently the focus for this system is on larger vessels subject to the
Navigation Act 1912. In the longer term this system might be useful for small
vessels. It may be used to support or enhance reporting systems like
REEFREP - which tracks boats in the region of the Great Barrier Reef.

80

Marine
Radiocommunication
Equipment

Chapter Nine
81

Section 23 Types of Marine Radiocommunication


Equipment
124.

Choice of Marine Radiocommunication Equipment

124.1

Three different types of marine radiocommunications equipment are available


in Australia. The type best suited to any vessel must depend on:

the level of communications service required by the owner; and,


more importantly,

the ability of the equipment to provide an adequate level of safety


communications in the vessel's area of operation.

125.

Types of Marine Radiocommunication Equipment

125.1

The three types of marine radiocommunication equipment available in


Australia are:

equipment operating in the 27 MHz marine band (usually referred to


as "27 Meg marine");

equipment operating in the international VHF marine band; and

equipment operating in the international MF and HF marine bands.


!

125.2 Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Due to the increasing
usage of digital selective calling it is important that this feature is considered
when choosing marine radiocommunications equipment. MF/HF and VHF
marine radio equipment may have digital selective calling capability in addition
to radiotelephony. 27 MHz marine equipment will be radiotelephony only. !

82

126.

27 MHz Marine Equipment

126.1

27 MHz marine equipment offers:

a communications range, under favourable conditions, of between


10 and 50 km (5.5 and 27 nautical miles);

a safety service provided by limited coast stations operated by


marine rescue organisations;

the advantages of being cheap and easy to install; but

the disadvantages of being subject to interference from atmospheric


and ignition noise (and on occasions, from distant radio stations),
and of not providing access to a radiotelephone service. !

126.2

Despite the disadvantages, 27 MHz marine equipment is ideal for small


vessels which operate inshore and within range of limited coast stations
operated by marine rescue organisations.

127.

VHF Marine Radio Equipment

127.1

VHF marine equipment offers:

a communications range between vessels of up to 20 km (11


nautical miles) and between vessel and shore of 50 km (27 nautical
miles), possibly significantly greater;

a safety service provided by limited coast stations operated by


marine rescue and other organisations;

the advantages of being relatively inexpensive, of providing the


highest quality signals, of suffering least from interference caused
by atmospheric or ignition sources, and of providing access to a
radiotelephone service; but

the disadvantage of suffering blindspots behind cliffs, sandhills and


heavy vegetation. !"

127.2

VHF marine equipment is suitable for small vessels remaining relatively close
to the coast and within range of limited coast stations operating on VHF
channels. !"

127.3

The Auto Seaphone facility has the effect of substantially increasing the useful
range of VHF marine radio equipment by using unmanned land bases. The
Auto Seaphone "999" service can be used to attract priority attention in the
case of an emergency. The caution regarding use of the "999" service should
be noted (see paragraph 103.5).

127.4

VHF marine radio equipment fitted with digital selective calling may offer a
single-button distress facility and automated watchkeeping (see chapter 5).

128.

MF/HF Marine Radio Equipment

128.1

MF/HF marine equipment offers:

a communications range of many thousands of kilometres, and


worldwide given the correct choice of frequency band;

a safety service provided by limited coast stations;

the advantages of being able to change frequency bands to provide


communications over the desired range, and to provide access to a
radiotelephone service; but

the disadvantages of high cost, complex installation, of a


requirement for greater operator expertise, and of being subject to
atmospheric and ignition interference noise. !

128.2

Because it does not suffer the range limitations of 27 MHz and VHF marine
equipment, MF/HF marine equipment is the only system recommended for
vessels undertaking lengthy coastal or overseas voyages. !

128.3

MF/HF marine radio equipment fitted with digital selective calling may offer a
single-button distress facility and automated watchkeeping (see chapter 5). In
particular, digital selective calling can allow MF/HF marine radio equipment to
communicate with a wide variety of stations and services including the foreign
coast stations mentioned in Chapter 10 (paragraph 159).

83

Section 24 Radio Propagation

84

129.

The Theory of Propagation

129.1

Radio propagation, or how radio energy travels in space, is a complex and


difficult subject.

129.2

However, a basic understanding is needed to appreciate the communications


range capabilities and limitations of marine radio equipment.

129.3

When marine radio equipment is operating as a transmitter, radio energy is


radiated from its antenna. This radio energy travels through space in two
different ways - by ground waves and by sky waves.

129.4

Radio energy which leaves the antenna as ground waves remains close to the
surface of the Earth and uses up its energy quickly, particularly when travelling
over land. Consequently, communications by ground wave are limited to short
ranges.

129.5

Radio energy leaving the antenna as sky waves travels upwards at many
different angles until it reaches the ionosphere (that part of the Earth's
atmosphere that lies between 80 and 350 km about the Earth's surface). As
the radio energy meets the ionosphere, it is reflected back towards the Earth's
surface. Sky waves do not lose their energy quickly and, due to the reflection
from the ionosphere, allow communications over very long distances.

129.6

There are many variables which affect the sky wave propagation of radio
energy, most importantly, the time of day or night. The seasons and the natural
phenomena of solar flares, or sunspots, also substantially affect the behaviour
of sky waves.

130.

Radio Propagation at VHF Marine Frequencies

130.1

Under normal conditions there is no reflection of VHF radio energy from the
ionosphere. Consequently, VHF communications must be conducted by
ground wave and are therefore effective only for short ranges.

130.2

As a general rule, VHF communications between two stations over an allwater path, are possible over a maximum range of approximately the
combined line of sight distance of each station. It follows that the greater the
heights of the transmitting and receiving antennas, the greater will be the
communications range. !"

130.3

Under certain atmospheric conditions, particularly during the summer months,


a phenomenon called "ducting" occurs allowing VHF communications over
many hundreds or thousands of kilometres. Communications under these
conditions are highly unreliable and must not be taken into consideration
when making decisions about the suitability of VHF marine radio equipment.

131.

Radio Propagation at 27 MHz Marine Frequencies

131.1

For the majority of time, 27 MHz sky wave radio energy is not reflected by the
ionosphere. Communications must be therefore conducted by ground waves
and are consequently possible only for short distances.

131.2

However, under certain ionospheric conditions, 27 MHz sky waves are


reflected by the ionosphere and return to Earth. This allows communications
over hundreds or thousands of kilometres. This situation is popularly referred
to as "skip".

131.3

It should be noted that at 27 MHz, ground waves are the only reliable form of
communications.

132.

Radio Propagation at MF and HF Frequencies

132.1

At medium and high frequencies, reliable use can be made of both ground
and sky wave energy components, allowing communications over short and
long ranges.

132.2

MF/HF marine radio equipment will always offer the operator a selection of
frequencies in different bands, for example, 2182 kHz in the 2 MHz band,
4125 kHz in the 4 MHz band, 6215 kHz in the 6 MHz band etc. This allows
the operator to select a frequency which will be suitable both for the distance
over which communications are required, and the time of day and season. !

132.3

One rule for frequency selection is to use the lower frequencies when close to
the required station and the higher frequencies when further away. ! During
hours of darkness, a frequency lower than that necessary during the day is
more likely to be effective ("the higher the sun, the higher the frequency").

132.4

Less overseas interference will be experienced on the lower frequencies, but


in tropical waters, high static levels may make communications difficult or
impossible at times.

132.5

A very approximate guide to the use of MF/HF frequencies is:

use 2 MHz band frequencies for communicating with stations within


100 km (55 nautical miles), day or night;

use 4 MHz band frequencies for daytime communications with


stations at distances greater than 100 km (55 nautical miles) or if
no response to calls on 2 MHz, and for night time communications
when 2 MHz is unsatisfactory;

use 6 MHz band frequencies for daytime communications when 4


MHz is unsatisfactory, and at night when 2 MHz and 4 MHz are
unsatisfactory; and

85

132.6

86

use frequencies in the 8, 12, 16 and 22 MHz bands to provide


progressively greater communications distances and when distance
prevents the satisfactory use of the lower frequencies. !

The correct selection is the lowest frequency that will provide satisfactory
communications with the wanted station. However, this is often a matter of
experience rather than "textbook" knowledge. !

Section 25 Component Parts of Marine Radio


Equipment
133.

The Major Parts of Radio Equipment

133.1

Marine radio equipment, whether operating in the 27 MHz, VHF or MF/HF


bands, is made up of three major parts:

the antenna or aerial;

the transmitter and the receiver; and

the power supply. !"

133.2

Each part is dependent on the other. A fault in any one of the parts will not
allow the equipment to function correctly. !"

134.

The Antenna

134.1

The antenna has two functions:

during transmission, to radiate into space the radio frequency


energy generated by the transmitter;

during reception, to gather radio frequency energy from space and


pass it to the receiver.

134.2

The antenna, therefore, will be connected to either the transmitter or the


receiver, depending whether transmission or reception is taking place.

134.3

The changeover is effected by the press-to-talk button on the microphone.


When pressed, the transmitter is turned on and the antenna is connected to it.
When released, the transmitter is turned off and the antenna is reconnected to
the receiver.

135.

The Transmitter and the Receiver

135.1

The function of the transmitter is to turn voice (audio) signals into a form
where they can travel over very long distances. This is achieved by converting
voice signals spoken into the microphone into high powered radio frequency
energy which is passed to the antenna and radiated as ground and sky
waves.

135.2

The function of the receiver is to select only those radio frequency signals
which are required by the operator, and to amplify them. These signals are
then converted back into voice signals and reproduced by a loudspeaker.

135.3

It is usual with marine radio equipment for the transmitter and receiver to be
combined in a single unit called a transceiver.

135.4

On MF/HF transceivers, to achieve effective communications, it is essential to


provide a radio "earth" to the water surrounding the vessel. Usually, this is
achieved by running a heavy wire or, preferably, a copper strip from the radio
earth terminal of the transceiver to either a metal plate on the underside of the
hull or, in the case of a vessel constructed from metal, directly to part of the
metallic superstructure. On fibre-glass vessels, a satisfactory radio earth may
be achieved by connecting the transceiver to a metallic plate within the layers
of the hull.

87

88

136.

The Power Supply

136.1

The function of the power supply is to supply electrical energy to the


transmitter and the receiver to enable them to carry out their tasks.

136.2

The most convenient form of power supply for small vessels is the lead-acid
battery.

136.3

Fuses located in the wiring between the battery and the transceiver protect the
vessel and equipment against damage should a malfunction occur.

Section 26 Transceiver Controls


137.

Transceiver Controls

137.1

This section details the functions of important operator controls which may be
found on marine radio equipment. Not all will be found on each type of
equipment.
On/off and volume control Often these functions are combined into a single
control. It is used to turn the equipment on or off, and to adjust the level of
signals coming from the loudspeaker. !"
Channel selector This control is used to select the channel or frequency on
which transmission or reception is required. !"
Squelch or mute control This control allows the operator to stop the
constant and annoying background roar from the receiver in the absence of
an incoming signal. On VHF and 27 MHz marine equipment, it is usually an
adjustable control. The correct setting is so that the roar just cannot be heard.
Further operation of the control is undesirable as this will progressively
desensitise the receiver and may prevent reception of weak signals. If
provided on MF/HF equipment, the level of muting is pre-set and can only be
turned off or on. !"
AM/SSB emission control (on some MF/HF equipment, this control may be
marked H3E/J3E).. This control will be found on most MF/HF transceivers and
on those 27 MHz transceivers with single sideband option. It controls the
mode of transmission and reception. See paragraphs 138.1 to 138.4 for
further information. !
RF gain control This control will only be found on some 27 MHz and MF/HF
transceivers. It is used to vary the strength of received signals and has an
effect similar to the volume control. However, except when receiving unusually
strong signals, it should be kept close to maximum and the volume control
used to adjust signals to a comfortable level. !
Noise limiter (noise blanker) The control may be switched on to minimise the
effect of loud static or ignition interference on received signals. It should be
used with care as it may also desensitise the receiver to wanted signals. !
Power selector This control varies the power of the transmitted signal. On
VHF marine equipment it may be marked "25W/1W" (25 watts or 1 watt) or
"high/low". The use of more power than is required to communicate
satisfactorily is a breach of the International Radio Regulations, may cause
unnecessary interference and drains the battery supplying the equipment at a
faster rate. !
Dual watch (DW) This control will be found only on some VHF equipment. On
operation it will permit the operator to keep listening watch on two different
VHF channels. !
Clarifier This control will be found on most MF/HF transceivers and those 27
MHz transceivers which are fitted with a single sideband option. It provides a
means of fine tuning incoming single sideband signals that sound distorted or
"off station". It has no effect on transmitted signals. On SSB transceivers not
fitted with a clarifier control, another method of fine tuning incoming signals
will be provided. !

89

Antenna or Aerial Tuning Unit (ATU) This unit will be found only with MF/HF
equipment and may be separate or incorporated with the transceiver. An ATU
is necessary to adjust the "electrical" length of the antenna to ensure that
maximum transfer of power from the transmitter can take place on different
frequency bands. ATUs may tune automatically or require manual adjustment.
!
Radiotelephony Alarm Signal Generating Device (ASGD) This control is
found only on some MF/HF transceivers. Operation causes the radiotelephony
alarm signal to be transmitted. A test function may also be provided to permit
the function to be tested without transmission. !
International/USA control This control may be found on some VHF marine
equipment. It is provided by the manufacturer to permit communications with
stations in the USA which do not conform to the international VHF channel
plan. It is important that this control is kept in the "international" position at all
times unless in the coastal waters of the USA. !"
Press-to-Talk Control This spring-loaded control is located on the
microphone. When pressed, it activates the transmitter allowing transmission
of signals. When released, the equipment is returned to the receive mode. !"
137.2

It is likely that marine equipment manufacturers will offer controls other than
those detailed here. It is important that operators familiarise themselves with
the function and effect of all controls. This is particularly important with
equipment capable of digital selective calling (DSC).

138.

The Single Sideband Mode of Transmission and Reception

138.1

Single sideband (SSB) transmission and reception is mandatory on all MF/HF


marine frequencies with the exception of 2182 kHz. Most MF/HF transceivers
are designed to switch automatically to this mode when any frequency other
2182 kHz is selected. Single sideband is an option offered on some 27 MHz
marine equipment.

138.2

SSB mode of transmission causes both the transmitter and receiver to operate
in a very effective manner and will improve chances of successful
communications under poor conditions or at extremes of range. It also makes
efficient use of radio frequency space or spectrum. !

138.3

Ship stations using single sideband transmission and reception should be


aware that:

use of the SSB mode is mandatory on all MF/HF marine channels


except 2182 kHz;

ship stations calling a coast station on 2182 kHz may use either the
AM (H3E) mode or the SSB (J3E) mode;

a transceiver operating in the AM mode will receive SSB signals as


an unintelligible garble;

a transceiver operating in the SSB mode will receive both AM and


SSB signals intelligibly (an incoming AM signal may be received
with a slight whistle);

138.4

90

ship stations with SSB capability on 27 MHz equipment should


always choose the AM mode when transmitting or receiving on the
distress channel of 27.88 MHz.

International regulations require the use of the AM (H3E) mode for distress,
urgency and safety calls made on 2182 kHz.

139.

Duplex Transmissions

139.1

A duplex channel is one on which transmission and reception take place on


different, but paired, frequencies, for example during communications with a
coast station, the vessel transmits on frequency A and receives on frequency
B, while the coast station transmits on frequency B and receives on frequency
A.

139.2

Most working channels in the MF/HF and VHF marine bands are duplex. The
appropriate paired frequencies are pre-programmed into transceivers and
selected automatically by use of the channel select control.

139.3

The different transmit and receive frequencies allow ship stations fitted with
the necessary facilities to transmit and receive simultaneously. Because the
transmitter and the receiver are both operating at the same time,
radiotelephone calls can be conducted in a similar manner to a telephone call
made over the land system, with each party being able to speak and be heard
at the same time.

139.4

The duplex filter units allowing simultaneous transmission and reception are
only usually found on very expensive MF/HF and VHF equipment. The use of
widely separated antennas, one for transmission and another for reception,
may also be required.

139.5

MF/HF and VHF ship stations without the duplex facility must use the paired
frequencies alternately, that is, for transmission or reception, but not at the
same time. Use of the word "over" to prevent confusion and ensure efficient
use of time on air is explained in paragraph 97.8.

91

Section 27 General Care and Maintenance of


Marine Radio Equipment

92

140.

Care of Antennas

140.1

Antennas used in conjunction with MF/HF equipment may be long wire or


vertical whip type.

140.2

Antennas used with 27 MHz and VHF marine equipment are normally vertical
whip type.

140.3

Whip antennas are manufactured specifically for either the 27 MHz, VHF or
MF/HF marine bands and are not interchangeable.

140.4

Insulators used with antennas should be periodically inspected for cracking or


deterioration and replaced if necessary. Salt build-up on insulators will reduce
their efficiency and should be regularly cleaned off. Insulators should never be
painted.

140.5

Ultra-violet radiation will cause fibre-glassed whip antennas to deteriorate


after many years of service to a point where moisture can penetrate the layers.
This will seriously affect radiation efficiency and replacement or re-fibreglassing will be necessary.

140.6

On yachts, the practice of insulating a backstay will provide a reasonably


efficient long-wire antenna. However, it must be considered that should the
yacht be dismasted, the antenna will also be lost. Where a backstay is used, it
is recommended that yachts carry a spare whip antenna which can be quickly
mounted and connected.

141.

Care of Transceivers

141.1

Radio equipment manufactured for marine use is designed for harsh


environmental conditions. However, transceivers should always be protected
from rain and spray by being positioned inside a deckhouse or cabin. They
should be securely fastened to the vessel to prevent damage in heavy
weather.

141.2

After use, a microphone associated with a transceiver should always be


replaced in its holder or bracket. For a variety of reasons, failure to do this can
result in the transmitter being activated through inadvertent pressure on the
microphone press-to-talk switch and without the knowledge of the operator. As
a consequence, all background noises, including conversations made in the
vicinity of the transceiver, are transmitted. Use of the frequency by other
nearby stations cannot take place until the station responsible has been
located and the problem corrected.

141.3

It is normal practice to locate fuses in the leads connecting the transceiver to


the battery supplying the power. The purpose of these fuses is to "blow"
should the transceiver malfunction and start to draw a current in excess of the
fuse rating. By doing this, the fuses protect the wiring system from serious
damage and the possibility of fire.

141.4

Boat owners should be aware that, on occasions, a power supply fuse will
blow when the transceiver is not malfunctioning and for no apparent reason. It
is recommended that a supply of fuses of the manufacturer's recommended
value be carried on board for such circumstances. However, if the
replacement fuse also blows, this is a warning of a serious problem. At this
stage, a boat owner should consider whether to continue the voyage or trip.
Use of higher rating fuses, silver paper or pieces of wire may result in
expensive damage and, possibly, fire. !"

93

Section 28 Care and Maintenance of Lead Acid


Batteries

94

142.

Construction of Lead Acid Cells

142.1

A chemical combination of lead and lead peroxide plates, and the sulphuric
acid in the electrolyte (the liquid solution within the cell) produces a voltage
difference between the plates. This voltage difference allows a current to flow
through any load, such as a radio, connected across the battery terminals.

142.2

When the acid in the electrolyte or the material in the plates is used up, the
voltage no longer exists and current cannot flow. At this point, the cell is said
to be discharged or "flat".

142.3

This situation is reversible by passing a current in the opposite direction. This


process reverses the chemical reactions in the cell and is known as charging.

142.4

Lead acid cells have a voltage of 2 volts per cell, regardless of size. Larger
size cells will supply higher currents than smaller cells, or the same current for
longer periods. The ability of a cell to produce current for a period of time is
known as the cell's capacity and is usually measured in ampere-hours, or with
batteries designed for motor vehicle use, as cranking current amps (CCA).

143.

Connection of Lead Acid Cells

143.1

Cells may be connected in series, that is, the positive terminal of one cell to
the negative terminal of another, to produce higher voltages. Three cells
connected in series will give a "battery" of 3 x 2 volts = 6 volts; six cells
connected in series will give a "battery" of 6 x 2 volts = 12 volts. !"

143.2

Most modern lead-acid batteries are supplied in 6 or 12 volt combinations and


may themselves be connected in series to provide the required output voltage,
for example, two 12 volt batteries connected in series will produce a voltage of
2 x 12 volts = 24 volts. !"

143.3

Connection of lead-acid batteries in parallel, that is positive terminal to positive


terminal, negative terminal to negative terminal, will produce the same output
voltage as a single battery, but the ability to supply current (capacity) will have
been lengthened. For example, two batteries each supplying 12 volts with a
capacity of 60 ampere-hours, when connected in parallel will provide a voltage
output of 12 volts with a capacity of 120 ampere-hours.

144.

Essential Battery Maintenance

144.1

The functioning of radio equipment is dependent on power supplied by the


battery. If it is to provide adequate performance in the event of an emergency,
regular and careful maintenance is required.

144.2

A battery's service life also depends on the manner in which it is treated.

144.3

To ensure the best performance from a battery it is important that a battery:

is kept clean, dry and free from terminal corrosion;

has the electrolyte kept at the correct level; and

is kept correctly charged. !"

145.

Battery Cleanliness

145.1

A battery should be kept clean. A dirty battery may hold spilt electrolyte on its
surface thereby providing a path for the electrical current to leak away. It is
important to keep the outside surfaces of a battery dry and free of
contamination. !"

145.2

Corrosion forming on terminal clamps may seriously affect, or even prevent,


the ability of the battery to supply current. Corrosion will be evident by the
formation of a white-green powder between the battery terminals and the
terminal clamps. In this situation, the terminal clamp should be removed and
both it and the terminal post cleaned. !"

145.3

To minimise the likelihood of corrosion, terminal posts and clamps should be


lightly smeared with petroleum jelly.

146.

Electrolyte Level

146.1

The level of electrolyte inside a battery is important. As a result of the


chemical action inside a battery, water is lost. This should be replaced with
distilled or demineralised water. !"

146.2

Seawater must not be used under any circumstances.

146.3

The level of the electrolyte should be maintained at approximately 10 mm


above the plates unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. !"

146.4

If the electrolyte level is too high, it may overflow during charging providing an
unwanted discharge path. If the electrolyte is too low, the plates are exposed
to the air and permanent damage and loss of capacity may result.

146.5

It may be noticed that a battery that is nearing the end of its useful life will
require more frequent topping-up than has been previously necessary.

146.6

Low-maintenance batteries will require infrequent topping-up. Maintenancefree batteries may require none at all.

147.

Correct Charging

147.1

To provide the best service, a battery must be correctly charged. Both


overcharging and undercharging can seriously affect its performance. !"

147.2

On small vessels the usual means of charging the radio battery will be an
alternator or generator attached to the vessel's engine. An associated
regulator, which reduces the charging current as necessary, should prevent
overcharging.
95

96

147.3

Vessels that are used frequently (say, several times each week) should have
no problem maintaining a fully charged radio battery. However, on vessels that
are used relatively infrequently (say, once every few weeks), it is likely that
during storage even a battery that starts as fully charged, will self-discharge
and go flat.

147.4

For safety reasons, it is important that a small boat owner is able to determine
the general condition of a battery and its ability to supply current over a period
of time (its capacity). An indication of the level of charge in a battery may be
obtained by either:

measuring the specific gravity of the electrolyte; or

measuring the on-load terminal voltage. !"

148.

Measuring the Specific Gravity

148.1

The specific gravity, also called the relative density, of the electrolyte (the liquid
inside the battery) varies proportionally with the amount of charge in the
battery. It is highest when the battery is fully charged, and lowest when the
battery is fully discharged or flat. It follows that the amount of charge in a
battery can be determined by measuring the specific gravity of the electrolyte.
!"

148.2

A simple, inexpensive device called a hydrometer is used to measure specific


gravity. !"

148.3

In general, for a fully charged battery, the specific gravity should measure
about 1.250. Half charge will be indicated by a reading of 1.200 and fully
discharged by 1.150. All cells in a battery should indicate a similar specific
gravity. !" A variation of more than about 0.025 will indicate a faulty cell and
the battery should be replaced.

148.4

Due to differences in manufacturing techniques, specific gravities may vary


slightly from brand to brand. The manufacturer's specifications should be
consulted for more precise figures.

148.5

The temperature of the electrolyte will also affect specific gravity readings.
Manufacturers normally provide specifications at the industry standard of
25oC, and a correction should be applied if the temperature is significantly
above or below this figure. A figure of 0.002 should be added for each three
degrees above 25oC, and 0.002 subtracted for each three degrees below
25oC. For example, a hydrometer reading of 1.250 at 4oC when corrected
gives an actual specific gravity of 1.236, indicating that rather than being fully
charged, the battery is approximately 86% charged.

148.6

Specific gravity readings should not be taken immediately after topping-up a


cell as the added water will float towards the top of the cell and give a false
reading. Charging for thirty minutes or more after topping-up will mix the
electrolyte and allow accurate readings.

148.7

Batteries which have cells where specific gravity readings fail to rise, or
respond poorly, to adequate charging should be replaced.

149.

Measuring the On-Load Terminal Voltage

149.1

Measurement of the terminal voltage when a battery is supplying current to a


load, such as a radio, will also provide an indication of the amount of charge in
a battery. This measurement is known as the on-load terminal voltage. !"

149.2

For a 12-volt battery, the on-load terminal voltage should not fall below
approximately 11.4 volts while transmitting. If the voltage does fall significantly
below this figure, the battery requires charging. If after charging, the on-load
terminal voltage still falls significantly below 11.4 volts, it is an indication of a
faulty cell and the battery should be replaced.

149.3

Measuring of the off-load (that is, when the battery is idle) terminal voltage of
a battery is a poor indication of its condition. !"

150.

Loss of Capacity

150.1

A battery will suffer a gradual loss of capacity during its life. This is inevitable
and the battery should be replaced when the capacity loss becomes
significant.

150.2

Many lead-acid batteries have a commercial life of only two to three years.

150.3

However, the useful life of a battery can be considerably shortened by:

operating a battery in a low state of charge for long periods;

allowing a battery to stand in a discharged state for long periods;

leaving a charged battery for long periods without periodic


charging; and

overcharging.

151.

Battery Hazards

151.1

There are two hazards associated with lead-acid batteries that ship station
operators should be aware of:

the risk of explosion; and

the risk of chemical burns. !"

151.2

As a result of the chemical process occurring within the cells of a battery


during charging, hydrogen gas is produced. When mixed with air, this can
form a highly explosive mixture which can be ignited by a naked flame, a
lighted cigarette, or a spark. The spark caused by breaking or making an
electrical connection in the vicinity of the charging battery may be sufficient to
ignite the hydrogen-air mixture. !"

151.3

If using metal tools to work on battery connections, extreme care must be


taken to ensure that terminals are not short-circuited. !"

151.4

The electrolyte in battery cells is sulphuric acid. It is sufficiently concentrated,


particularly just after charging, to damage eyes, skin or clothes if spilt or
splashed. Immediate and prolonged application of running water is
recommended to minimise its effect. !"

151.5

It is recommended that eye protection be worn when a person is carrying out


maintenance on batteries. Batteries should not be topped-up whilst on charge.
!"

152.

Location of Batteries

152.1

The location of a battery supplying marine radio equipment should be chosen


to ensure that, as far as practicable, the battery is:

protected from the elements;

97

98

readily accessible for routine maintenance;

located reasonably close to the transceiver;

located as high in the vessel as practicable;

well ventilated to dissipate the hydrogen gas produced (if located


within a wheelhouse or other compartment, venting to the outside
may be necessary);

not located with other items of equipment that could, in heavy


weather, fall across the battery and cause short-circuiting; and

not located in the same compartment as a different type of battery,


for example, alkaline cells.

Section 29 Faults in Marine Radio Equipment


153.

General

153.1

Regular inspection and maintenance of the antenna, transceiver and battery


power supply will minimise the likelihood of faults occurring at sea.

153.2

However, the owners of small vessels should be prepared to deal with minor
faults on their marine radio equipment.

153.3

Faults can be usually divided into three categories:

faults occurring on the antenna system;

faults occurring in the transceiver; and

faults occurring with the battery power supply.

154.

Antenna System Faults

154.1

Antenna system faults may include:

poor or broken connections in the antenna or radio earth system;

the antenna broken or shorted, or a fracture inside a whip antenna;


and

broken, deteriorated or contaminated insulators. !"

154.2

A poor or loose connection between the transceiver and the antenna will affect
both transmitted and received signals. Received signals will be broken and
the loudspeaker will "crackle". Other stations may report broken transmitted
signals. !" With MF/HF equipment, normal tuning positions on the antenna
tuning unit (ATU) may vary. !

154.3

A completely broken connection between transceiver and antenna will result in


receiver hiss, but few or no signals. Transmission will not be possible. !"

154.4

An antenna which is shorted to a vessel's metal hull or superstructure is likely


to produce similar results. !

154.5

On vessels equipped with MF/HF equipment, faults occurring on the radio


earthing system, although relatively uncommon, may cause transmitting
problems. The most likely faults are breaks in the metallic connections at the
transceiver, antenna tuning unit (ATU) or at the radio earth plate itself. On rare
occasions, a radio earth plate may become detached from the hull. !

154.6

Radio earthing problems will usually be evident by abnormal or changing ATU


tuning positions. Often a faulty (or non-existent) radio earth may cause the
metallic parts of the transceiver and ATU to become "live" during transmission.
This is not dangerous, but a sharp, burning sensation may be felt when in
direct contact with these parts. !

155.

Transceiver Faults

155.1

A transceiver fault is usually obvious and probably will require specialist


attention. A faulty microphone cord may prevent transmission, but not affect
reception. !"

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100

156.

Power Supply Faults

156.1

Power supply faults may include:

loose or corroded battery terminals;

a discharged or defective battery;

blown fuses; and

loose or frayed connecting cables. !"

156.2

Loose battery connections will be evident by intermittent operation of the


receiver and transmitter, and flickering dial lights or channel display. !"

156.3

A battery which is defective or close to discharged may be able to supply


sufficient current to operate the receiver, but not the transmitter. Should the
transmitter fail to operate and dial lights or channel display dim significantly
when the transmit button is operated, the battery should be suspected. Heavy
corrosion at the battery terminals may cause similar symptoms. !"

156.4

Blown fuses will mean that the equipment will fail to operate in any way.
Frayed power supply cables touching together or to metal parts of the vessel
are a frequent cause of blown fuses. !"

Information for
Vessels Proceeding
Overseas
Important Note: Vessels proceeding overseas
should note that in accord with the Global
Maritime Distress and Safety System
(GMDSS), coast stations in some parts of the
world, particularly Europe, no longer provide
aural (loudspeaker) watchkeeping on
radiotelephony distress and calling
frequencies. Digital selective calling facilities
may be needed to alert these stations to a
distress, urgency, safety or routine call.

Chapter Ten

Section 30 General Information

102

157.

Inspection of Radio Stations

157.1

The owners and operators of vessels proceeding overseas need to be aware


that the International Radio Regulations give a signatory nation the right to
inspect a ship station visiting any of that nation's ports.

157.2

Authorities in such countries may require the person responsible for the station
to produce a valid radio station licence issued by the country in which the
vessel is registered. Relevant operators' certificates of proficiency must also
be produced if required.

157.3

The operators of Australian vessels undertaking overseas voyages must


ensure they are able to meet these requirements. Copies of class licences
should be carried if relevant. If equipment operating on Amateur radio bands is
carried on board, a valid Amateur station licence and an appropriate Amateur
certificate of proficiency must be available for inspection.

157.4

Failure to produce these documents may result in authorities carrying out an


inspection of the radio station. If irregularities are found, further action may be
taken, including an advice to the Australian Government.

157.5

Owners of vessels considering an overseas voyage are reminded of the need


to register their vessel with the Australian Register of Ships before leaving.
Registration provides owners with official proof of ownership and a nationality
for their vessel. A registration certificate is required by law when dealing with
overseas authorities and it is mandatory to complete Australian Customs
formalities on leaving and re-entering the country.

157.6

Any office of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will provide details of
vessel registration.

158.

Accounting Authority Identification Code (AAIC)

158.1

International Radio Regulations give foreign administrations the right to collect


charges for public correspondence radiocommunications from the licensee of
the ship station.

158.2

A vessel using a foreign coast station for passing paid radiotelegrams or


making radiotelephone calls to any destination, must be registered with an
AAIC. This is an internationally recognised way of providing the coast station
with:

a reasonable assurance that payment will be made; and

the name and address of the organisation which will make


payment.

158.3

Ship stations wishing to pass paid radiocommunications through any foreign


coast station should be prepared to quote an AAIC. Failure to do so is likely to
result in the coast station refusing to accept the call or message.

158.4

AAICs have been issued by the ACA to a number of private enterprises


concerned with marine communications. Details of these organisations have
been provided by the ACA to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU),
who, in turn, advise all member nations.

158.5

A full list of organisations holding an Australian AAIC may be found in the List
of Ship Stations published by the ITU.

158.6

The licensees of vessels wishing to pass paid traffic through foreign coast
stations must make the necessary financial arrangements with one of these
organisations to ensure prompt payment of accounts arriving from overseas
administrations. On completion of these arrangements, the organisation will
authorise the ship station licensee to use its AAIC. ACA offices can provide
details of Australian organisations offering this service.

159.

Details of Foreign Coast Stations

159.1

Details of foreign coast and land stations providing services to ship radio
stations may be found in volumes published by the ITU or the British
Admiralty.

159.2

ITU publications of interest to ship station operators include:

the List of Coast Stations which contains particulars of coast


stations and Inmarsat Land Earth Stations throughout the world;
and

the List of Special Service and Radiodetermination Stations which


contains particulars of coast and land stations broadcasting
weather forecasts, navigational warnings and time signals, radio
beacons and other specialised services.

159.3

ITU publications are updated at regular intervals by supplements and are


available from the International Telecommunication Union, General
Secretariat, Sales Service, Place des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 20,
Switzerland. Telephone + 41 22 730 6141. Email sales@itu.int

159.4

The British Admiralty List of Radio Signals is also published in a number of


volumes. Those of likely interest to small vessels proceeding overseas are:

159.5

volume 1, parts 1 and 2, which contains particulars of coast


stations and Inmarsat Land Earth Stations throughout the world,
medical advice by radio, radio quarantine reporting, ship reporting
systems etc;

volume 2 which contains particulars of radio beacons throughout


the world which are suitable for navigation by vessels carrying
direction finding equipment, radar beacons, time signals and
electronic navigation systems;

volume 3 which contains particulars of foreign coast and land


stations providing weather and navigational bulletins; and

volume 6, parts 1 and 2, which contains particulars of


radiocommunication services operated by foreign port authorities
and pilotage services.

British Admiralty volumes are updated weekly through Australian Notices to


Mariners published by the RAN Hydrographic Service. They are generally
available from retail outlets specialising in marine publications and
navigational charts.

103

104

160.

Foreign Ship-Reporting Systems

160.1

Many countries provide a voluntary ship reporting system similar to Australia's


AUSREP system (see paragraphs 123.1 - 123.9). In the interests of safety,
small vessels on overseas voyages are encouraged to participate in these
schemes. Particulars may be found in Volume 1 of the British Admiralty List of
Radio Signals. Also, coast stations may be able to provide details of their
country's system.

160.2

The Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System (AMVER) operated


by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) provides an aid to search and
rescue in all offshore areas of the world. Yachts, fishing vessels and other
small vessels proceeding on offshore voyages of longer than twenty-four hours
are eligible to participate. Further information is available from the AMVER
Maritime Relations, USCG Battery Park Building, New York NY, USA 100041499 Telephone + 1 212 668 7762. Fax + 1 212 668 7684. Internet
http://www.uscg.mil

161.

Medical Advice

161.1

Coast stations operated by most foreign administrations have arrangements to


provide medical advice to vessels at sea. In most cases, the exchange of
messages and the advice is provided free of charge.

161.2

In very urgent circumstances, use of the radiotelephony urgency signal or DSC


urgency alert is justified.

162.

Time Signals

162.1

Accurate time signals suitable for navigational purposes in Australia are no


longer provided on the frequencies of 2500, 5000, 8638, 12 984 and 16 000
kHz by the National Standards Commission in Sydney NSW.

162.2

Accurate time signals suitable for navigational purposes are still available on
the frequencies: 5000, 10 000, 15 000 and 20 000 kHz from various land
stations in other parts of the world. Full details of foreign stations broadcasting
time signals may be found in the appropriate volumes detailed in paragraphs
159.1 - 159.5.

163.

Survival Craft Radar Transponders (SARTs)

163.1

A survival craft radar transponder or SART is a battery-powered portable


device, which may be used by a survival craft to indicate its position to
searching aircraft and vessels.

163.2

On detecting signals from distant radar equipment, an activated SART will


generate a series of response signals. These response signals will be seen on
the vessel or aircraft radar screen as a line of twelve blips extending eight
nautical miles outward from the SART's position along its line of bearing. This
unique radar signal is easily recognised and the rescue vessel or aircraft can
locate the survivors.

163.3

SARTs operate in the 9.3 to 9.5 GHz band and will respond only to radar
equipment operating on those frequencies (X band radar). They will not
respond to 3 GHz (S band) radar.

163.4

Some manufacturers may produce an anti-collision radar transponder which


will produce a line of five blips over one nautical mile on an interrogating
vessel's radar screen. A yacht carrying such a device will have the means to
provide an indication to larger vessels of its presence in their vicinity. As the
transponder will provide a visual or audible warning when it is being
interrogated by radar signals, the yacht also will be alerted that a large vessel
is nearby.

Paragraph 164 is reserved for future use

105

106

Inmarsat Systems
and Equipment
Note. This Chapter provides general
guidance in the principles and operation of
Inmarsat systems and equipment. For
specific instructions, reference should be
made to manufacturers handbooks.

Chapter Eleven

Section 31 General Information


165

The International Maritime Satellite Organisation

165.1

The International Maritime Satellite Organisation (Inmarsat) operates a system


of satellites providing a range of telecommunications services to vessels. The
system also incorporates distress and safety communications. #

166

Inmarsat System

166.1

The Inmarsat system employs four operational satellites in geostationary orbit


above the equator, over the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. In
combination the satellites provide continuous high quality communications to
virtually the entire Earth's surface. # Back-up satellites are ready for use if
necessary.

166.2

The geostationary orbits of the satellites means that each moves at exactly the
same rate as the Earth's own rotation and therefore remains in the same
relative position to any point on the Earth. #

166.3

Powered by solar energy, each satellite acts as a transmitting and receiving


station, relaying messages between stations located on the Earth's surface. #

166.4

Each satellite has its own area of coverage (known as a "footprint") which is
that part of the Earth's surface within which an antenna can obtain a view of
the satellite. #

166.5

The coverage chart shows the four Inmarsat satellites and their coverage
areas. These areas are called ocean regions and are designated as follows:

the Pacific Ocean Region (POR)

the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)

the Atlantic Ocean East Region (AOR East)

the Atlantic Ocean West Region (AOR West) #

Inmarsat satellite placement and coverage

108

167

Inmarsat System Stations

167.1

An Inmarsat installation aboard any vessel is referred to as a Ship Earth


Station (SES). #

167.2

Each ocean region has a number of Land Earth Stations (LES) which provide
the communications interface between vessels at sea and shore based
telecommunications networks. This function is fully automated and is
effectively transparent as far as the Inmarsat system user is concerned. Each
LES has an associated Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) #

167.3

The Australian LES is located at Perth WA and serves both the Indian (IOR)
and Pacific (POR) ocean regions. Its associated MRCC is located in Canberra
and is operated by AusSAR. #

167.4

Each ocean region has a Network Coordination Station (NCS) which is


responsible for the overall management of exchange of traffic in its region. #

168.

Communications Services

168.1

Operating at super high frequencies (SHF) in the 1.5 to 1.6 GHz and 4 to 6
GHz bands, the Inmarsat system provides the following types of
communications:

telex in both real time, and store and forward modes;

telephone and facsimile; and

computer data in both real time, and store and forward modes.

168.2

Priority distress facilities exist for Ship Earth Stations. Once a vessel selects
and transmits a "distress priority" signal, the call is automatically routed to an
appropriate Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre. #

169

Types of Inmarsat Ship Terminals

169.1

Inmarsat-A provides high quality real time telex, telephone, facsimile and data
services. #

169.2

Inmarsat-B is the digital version of Inmarsat A and will eventually replace it.

169.3

Inmarsat-C provides a data (telex and facsimile) exchange in the store and
forward mode. This means that there is no real time connection between the
originating station and the receiving station, and delivery may be in the order
of 2 to 7 minutes. Inmarsat-C does not provide telephone (voice)
communications. #

169.4

Inmarsat-M provides a low quality telephone and data service in the real time
mode. Inmarsat-M is not approved for use in the Global Maritime Distress and
Safety System (GMDSS). #

109

Section 32 - Inmarsat- A Ship Earth Stations

110

170

Communications Capability

170.1

Inmarsat-A equipment has the capability of providing telex and telephone


communications. In addition to voice, the telephony channel may be used for
facsimile and other medium to high speed communications services.

171

Terminal Equipment

171.1

Because of the range of communications available with Inmarsat-A and the


consequent radio bandwidth and power required, it is necessary that the
transmitted energy be concentrated into a narrow beam by use of a dish
antenna. # This antenna is normally protected by a fibreglass housing.

171.2

To ensure communications, it is essential that the dish antenna associated


with a Inmarsat-A installation remains continuously pointing at the satellite
during all the usual motions of a vessel at sea. This is achieved by mounting
the antenna on a multi-axis platform which is stabilised against pitch and roll
motions. Compensation for yawing and course changes is achieved by an
input from the vessel's gyro compass to the stabilisation mechanism. #

171.3

Equipment below-decks consists of the actual terminal, usually with a


computer monitor and keyboard attached, and peripherals such as telephones,
facsimile machines and call alarms. Signals from the equipment are fed to the
dish antenna unit via special coaxial cables and then converted to the final
SHF radio uplink transmit frequency for communications with the satellite.

172

Principles of Operation

172.1

On first switching-on a Inmarsat-A terminal, the operator enters the vessel's


position and course into the terminal. Software in the terminal will calculate the
satellite azimuth and elevation and drive the antenna into that position. The
vessel's terminal then locks on to the Time Division Multiplex (TDM) carrier
relayed by the satellite from the Network Control Station.

172.2

Once locked on to the satellite and the TDM, most subsequent operations are
performed automatically. However, in the event of a shipboard power failure, it
is possible that the dish antenna will require repositioning once power is
restored. #

172.3

A TDM channel is used for to automatically assign a working channel to a Ship


Earth Station (SES) whenever communication to or from a Land Earth Station
(LES) is required, and for other "housekeeping" tasks. After the exchange of
messages via the LES, the SES automatically returns to a stand-by condition
on the TDM.

172.4

Details of Land Earth Stations offering Inmarsat-A services together with their
identification numbers and charges for commercial communications may be
found in the publications produced by the International Telecommunication
Union and the British Admiralty. For further information see paragraphs 159.2.
and 159.4.

172.5

The Inmarsat system provides for the automatic reception of Maritime Safety
Information (distress alerts, navigational and weather warnings and other
important information) by a method known as Enhanced Group Calling (EGC).
However, few Inmarsat-A models incorporate an EGC facility.

173

Distress Communications

173.1

Distress alerts may only be sent on the authority of the master, skipper or
other person responsible for the safety of the vessel.

173.2

Initiation of a distress alert from an Inmarsat-A terminal is made simple by the


provision of a distress button, or, in some cases, by the input of a brief
keyboard code. This simple operation provides an automatic, direct and
assured connection to a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) within
a few seconds. #

173.3

The transmission of the distress alert by a vessel may be made using either
the telex or telephone communication mode. It is not necessary for the
operator to have address information as the LES will automatically note the
distress priority and route the call to its associated MRCC. #

173.4

Should the distress alert be made in the telex mode, the operator should
pause until receiving the answerback of the MRCC, and then type essential
details of the distress situation, including the vessel's name, position, nature of
the distress and type of assistance required.

173.5

Should the distress alert be made in the telephone mode, the operator should
clearly convey details of the distress situation on receiving acknowledgment of
connection to the MRCC.

174

Antenna Siting

174.1

Depending on the position of the vessel and its orientation relative to the
satellite, parts of the vessel's superstructure may obstruct the "view" of the
dish antenna to the satellite. #

174.2

Careful attention must be paid to siting an Inmarsat-A dish antenna if shadow


sectors are to be eliminated or minimised in all azimuths and elevations. It
must be remembered that dish elevations at footprint margins will be very low.

175.

Radiation Hazard

175.1

The concentrated beam of radio energy from an Inmarsat-A antenna can be


harmful to humans. #

175.2

The terminal should be shut down, or the transmitter disabled, if a person is


likely to spend time within 7 metres and at just below the level, at the same
level or above the level of a Inmarsat-A antenna. #

111

Section 33 - Inmarsat-C Ship Earth Stations

112

176

Communications Capability

176.1

Inmarsat-C is a two way data messaging system that enables users to


transmit and receive messages to and from other Ship Earth Stations as well
as telex and data subscribers anywhere in the world. #

176.2

Inmarsat-C does not provide voice communications. #

176.3

The Inmarsat-C service operates on a store and forward basis. Unlike


Inmarsat-A there is no real time connection between the transmitting and
receiving stations. A message must be completely assembled by the operator
prior to transmission. On command the equipment transmits that message in
packets (or bursts) of data. #

176.4

The routine delivery time for an Inmarsat-C message depends on message


length but is in the order of two to seven minutes. Once the message is
successfully delivered, a delivery advice message will be sent to the
originating station. #

176.5

The Inmarsat-C service allows the necessary interchange of data to support


the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) used by fisheries management
authorities in Australia and other parts of the world.

177

Terminal equipment

177.1

An Inmarsat-C Ship Earth Station consists of an antenna, an electronics unit, a


message processor, a visual display unit (VDU), keyboard and printer. The
message processor may contain a floppy disk drive for storing transmitted and
received messages. An Enhanced Group Calling (EGC) receiver will be
incorporated.

177.2

Transmitted messages are prepared on the keyboard prior to transmission or


may be transferred by floppy disk from other computer sources. Received
messages will be available on the VDU and/or the printer. #

177.3

The terminal will provide an audible and/or visual alarm to alert a vessel's
watchkeeper to the reception of any distress or other important message
received by the Enhanced Group Calling system. #

177.4

Operators should take care that computer virus infection is not transferred to
the terminal software.

177.5

Inmarsat-C has the advantage of over Inmarsat-A of only requiring a narrow


bandwidth of radio spectrum to enable communications. As a consequence,
only relatively low power is required to communicate with the satellites and a
small, lightweight omnidirectional (radiating equally in all directions) antenna is
necessary. #

177.6

The omnidirectional characteristics of the antenna mean that it requires no


moving parts and stabilisation against vessel movement is not necessary. #

177.7

Ideally, an Inmarsat-C terminal should be interfaced with satellite positionfixing equipment such as GPS, to provide current position information in the
event of a distress situation. #

178

Principles of Operation

178.1

The Inmarsat-C system uses four Network Coordination Stations (NCS), one
in each of the ocean regions, to manage communications within that region.
The Network Coordination Stations are linked to Land Earth Stations by
special satellite signalling links which are used to exchange vital system
control and monitoring information.

178.2

Each NCS transmits continuously on a special satellite channel known as the


NCS common channel which is used for the broadcast of service information
and Enhanced Group Calling (EGC) information to Ship Earth Stations.

178.3

However, before Inmarsat-C service is available to a Ship Earth Station (SES)


it is necessary for that SES to be logged-in to the NCS in the appropriate
ocean region. #

178.4

Once logged-in the SES equipment continuously monitors the NCS common
channel when in an idle condition (that is, when not performing other tasks). #

178.5

By using the information contained on the NCS common channel, the SES
equipment can automatically gain access to a working channel for a particular
Land Earth Station for the transmission or reception of a message.

179

Logging-in and Logging-out Procedures

179.1

On initial switch-on and whenever the equipment has been switched off, it is
necessary for the operator of an Inmarsat-C Ship Earth Station to perform a
log-in. This simple procedure synchronises the SES's terminal to the NCS
common channel and informs the NCS that the SES is in an operational
status. # Some models of Inmarsat-C will perform this task automatically on
switch-on.

179.2

As a vessel transits from one ocean region to another, it is necessary to


change the log-in (for example from the Indian Ocean NCS to the Pacific
Ocean NCS). Some models of Inmarsat-C will perform this task automatically
while others require operator intervention.

179.3

A distress alert can still be transmitted even if the Ship Earth Station is not
logged-in. #

179.4

If, for any reason, the terminal is to be switched off for an extended time, the
operator should perform a logging-out procedure. # Failure to do this means
that the terminal remains registered with the Network Coordination Station as
active and a Land Earth Station may keep trying to deliver a message. This
may result in an unnecessary delay in advising the sender of non-delivery of a
message and charges for the repeated attempts.

180

Interface with Navigational Equipment

180.1

Usually a Ship Earth Station terminal will be interfaced with the vessel's
satellite position-fixing equipment (for example GPS) to provide accurate and
current position information in the case of a distress alert. # This information
resides in the memory of the equipment's distress alert generator.

180.2

Accurate position information is also necessary to ensure that the terminal's


Enhanced Group Calling receiver responds to shore-to-ship distress alerts
and other important messages which are relevant to the vessel's position. #

113

114

180.3

On vessels where the Inmarsat-C terminal is not interfaced with position-fixing


equipment, it is essential that the vessel's position, course and speed are
manually entered by the operator at intervals not exceeding 2 hours. #

180.4

Most modern Inmarsat-C terminals have an inbuilt GPS receiver.

181

Priority Communications

181.1

Distress alerts may only be sent on the authority of the master, skipper or
other person responsible for the safety of the vessel.

181.2

The transmission of a distress alert does not require the operator to nominate
a Land Earth Station or have an electronic address for a Maritime Rescue
Coordination Centre (MRCC). # The Inmarsat C equipment software and the
Network Coordination Station will ensure that the alert is routed to an
appropriate Land Earth Station (LES) where it will be passed the associated
MRCC.

181.3

In the case of distress alerts received by the Land Earth Station operated by
Telstra in Perth, the information will immediately be forwarded to the Rescue
Coordination Centre in Canberra operated by AusSAR (Australian Search and
Rescue). #

181.4

Inmarsat-C equipment contains a distress alert generator. The quickest means


of transmitting a distress alert requires the operator to perform two simple
manual operations (for example, the simultaneous pressing of two control
buttons). These actions will generate a default distress alert containing the
following information:

the identity of the Ship Earth Station;

the nature of the distress (in this case "maritime unspecified"); and

the most recent information contained in the equipment's memory


regarding the vessel's position, course and speed. #

181.5

If time permits, the operator may edit the distress alert generator before
transmission and enter the nature of the distress from a menu of situations.
Alternatively, the operator may use the keyboard to assemble a distress alert
and select "distress priority" before transmission. #

181.6

The Inmarsat-C equipment will provide an indication to the operator that the
distress alert is being transmitted, and more importantly, an indication of the
receipt of an acknowledgment from a Land Earth Station. If an
acknowledgment is not received from both a LES and its associated MRCC
within 5 minutes, the distress alert should be repeated. #

181.7

Communications after the initial distress alert are conducted by keyboard and
selection of the "distress priority''. Received messages will be available on the
visual display unit and/or the printer. #

181.8

Other priority alerts should be assembled by the operator and the appropriate
priority selected for transmission. Urgency messages should commence with
the word ""PAN PAN"" and safety messages with the word "SECURITE". #
Circumstances of use of these priority messages are detailed in paragraphs 67
and 68.

181.9

Operators should be familiar with the Inmarsat 2 digit code service which
facilitates automatic routing of messages and delivery to the appropriate
organisation without the need to know any details of that addressee # (for
example Code 32 for seeking medical advice, Code 42 for reporting
navigational hazards). Further information is available from the Australian
Maritime Authoritys (AMSA) internet site.

181.10 Reception of shore to ship distress alerts made by Enhanced Group Calling
will be marked by audible and/or visual alarms to attract the attention of a
vessel's watchkeeper. # Such alarms may not be self-cancelling and may
have to be reset manually. Reception of messages which carry an "urgent
priority" classification will also cause the alarms to operate.
181.11 Shore-to-ship distress alerts will commence with the word "MAYDAY".
Urgency messages will commence with the word ""PAN PAN"", and safety
messages with the word "SECURITE". #
181.12 Should a distress alert be generated inadvertently, it is essential that the
appropriate MRCC is notified by sending a message with distress priority
cancelling the distress alert. Vessel name, call sign and Inmarsat identity
should be provided. #

182.

Performance Verification Test

182.1

A performance verification test (PVT), also known as a link test, is conducted


when an Inmarsat-C terminal is first commissioned. The test consists of a
transmitted message, a received message, a distress alert, and a distress
alert acknowledgment.

182.2

A vessel's operator may initiate a performance verification test if there is


concern about the condition of the equipment. The test may take up to twenty
minutes to complete depending on the level of Inmarsat system congestion. #

182.3

An operator should be aware that that while conducting a performance


verification test, a situation may arise where a "genuine" distress alert is
inadvertently transmitted. During the PVT, the equipment software will request
the operator to initiate a test distress alert. If the operator fails to respond to
this request within thirty seconds, then the software will automatically initiate a
test distress alert. If, after the thirty seconds have elapsed, the operator does
respond to the request and manually initiates a distress alert, then it will be
regarded as genuine.

183

Antenna Siting

183.1

The compact size of the antenna make it relatively simple to locate it in a


position on the vessel where its view of the satellite will be unobstructed.

183.2

However, superstructure or other large objects, especially those within 1 metre


of the antenna which cause a shadow sector of greater than 2 degrees may
seriously degrade the performance of the equipment. It must be remembered
that angles of radiation at footprint margins will be very low.

184

Radiation Hazard

184.1

The omnidirectional characteristics of a Inmarsat-C antenna mean that there


is no concentration of transmitted radio energy and the radiation hazard to
personnel is minimised. However, the terminal should be shut down if a
person is likely to spend time within 1 metre of an Inmarsat-C antenna. #
115

Section 34 - Inmarsat Enhanced Group Calling


Receivers
185

General Information

185.1

The Inmarsat system provides a service known as Enhanced Group Calling


(EGC) which provides the broadcast of information to selected Ship Earth
Stations in an ocean region. This information includes maritime safety
information (MSI) which includes distress alerts, navigational warnings,
meteorological warnings and forecasts, and other important safety information
for vessels. #

185.2

An EGC receiver is incorporated into most Inmarsat-C equipment. n Some


Inmarsat-A models also have the feature.

185.3

Two types of EGC messages are available SafetyNET and FleetNET


(both names are registered trademarks of Inmarsat). #

185.4

SafetyNET allows authorised organisations to broadcast shore-to-ship


maritime safety information. Authorised organisations include:

185.5

hydrographic offices, for navigational warnings;

meteorological offices, for weather warnings and forecasts; and

maritime rescue coordination centres, for shore to ship distress


alerts, search and rescue communications and other urgent or
important information. #

FleetNET allows authorised organisations to broadcast information to


selected groups of Ship Earth Stations. The selected SESs may belong to a
particular fleet or flag, or be a registered subscriber to a commercial service.
Authorised users include;

shipowners, for the broadcast of fleet or company information;

government's, for the broadcast of messages to a particular


country's vessels; and

news subscription services, for the broadcast of news bulletins.

Basic concept of the Inmarsat Enhanced Group Calling System (the shaded area
indicates functions of the SafetyNet Service)

116

185.6

Most Inmarsat-C models can only receive EGC information when not engaged
in normal message transmission or reception with a Land Earth Station (LES).
When engaged in these tasks the installation is tuned to a LES channel and
not to the Network Coordination Station (NCS) common channel on which the
EGC broadcasts are made. However, on completion of communications with
the LES, the Ship Earth Station will automatically return to the NCS common
channel.

185.7

The Inmarsat system provides a six minute "echo" of EGC information to allow
vessels that have been engaged with a LES to return to the NCS common
channel and receive the information.

186

Broadcasts of EGC Messages

186.1

An EGC message, whether SafetyNET or FleetNET, is broadcast over an


entire ocean region and is received by all Ship Earth Stations which are tuned
to the Network Coordination Station common channel. However, the message
is only accepted by those EGC receivers which are in the geographical area
specified by the authorised information provider, or have been programmed to
accept that particular type of EGC message. All other EGC receivers reject
the message. #

186.2

EGC address selections that may be specified by an authorised information


provider are:

vessels within a fixed, or uniquely defined, geographical area;

vessels belonging to a particular flag or fleet;

a particular vessel; and

all vessels within an ocean region.

186.3

All EGC messages carry a unique coding which allows the EGC receiver to
automatically suppress storage and printing of messages that are received
more than once if the original message has been correctly received.

187

Broadcasts of SafetyNET Information

187.1

Information providers of maritime safety information make use of the EGC


system's geographical area addressing capabilities. For example, EGC
messages containing weather forecasts and navigational warnings will
normally be sent to fixed areas, while EGC messages concerning a local
storm warning or distress alert relay will be sent to a uniquely defined area. #
Information about EGC broadcasts of weather forecasts and warnings by the
Bureau of Meteorology can be obtained from the Bureau's website
(www.bom.gov.au/marine).

187.2

The decision made by a Ship Earth Station's EGC receiver to accept or reject
such messages is entirely electronic and relies solely on comparison with the
geographical position data which resides in the memory of the EGC facility.
Therefore it is essential that the EGC facility is continuously provided with
correct vessel position information. If an interface with a satellite position fixing
equipment is not provided, the EGC facility should be manually updated at
intervals not exceeding two hours. #

187.3

On most Inmarsat-C equipment, the position routinely entered into the distress
alert generator, either manually of electronically by an interface, also updates
the EGC facility. #

117

118

187.4

Failure to update the EGC facility within a 12 hour interval will result in the
EGC receiver accepting all maritime safety information with priorities higher
than "routine" for the entire ocean region, regardless of the specified
geographical address. #

187.5

Operators of Inmarsat-A and Inmarsat-C Ship Earth Stations which incorporate


an EGC facility should obtain a copy of the Australian Marine Notice which
details the arrangements for the promulgation of maritime safety information
via Inmarsat's EGC system. Further information is available from the Australian
Maritime Authority's (AMSA) Internet site (http://www.amsa.gov.au). Further
information regarding broadcasts of SafetyNET information can be found in
the Australian GMDSS Handbook also available from AMSA offices.

187.6

Operators should also consult the equipment manufacturer's handbook for


specific instructions on how to programme the EGC facility to ensure that
relevant information is received and, if required, printed.

187.7

Reception of shore to ship distress alerts and messages which carry an


"urgent priority" will be marked by audible and/or visual alarms to attract the
attention of a vessel's watchkeeper. #

Section 35 - Inmarsat-M Equipment


188

General information

188.1

The Inmarsat-M system provides low quality telephone and data service in the
real time mode.

188.2

Inmarsat-M requires a small, lightweight antenna. However, it is necessary to


arrange stabilisation of the antenna to ensure that it continues to view the
satellite during all the normal motions of a vessel at sea.

188.3

Inmarsat-M is not approved for use in the Global Maritime Distress and Safety
System (GMDSS).

Section 36 - Inmarsat EPIRBs (Inmarsat-E)


189

General information

189.1

An Inmarsat EPIRB (also referred to as a "L" band EPIRB and the Inmarsat-E
system) uses the Inmarsat satellite system described in paragraph 166 to
provide an indication of the location of survivors for search and rescue
operations. #

189.2

Inmarsat satellites are not capable of providing information to enable


calculation of the position of an activated "L" band EPIRB. Position
information must originate and be transmitted from the EPIRB. #

189.3

Information transmitted from the EPIRB is received by one of the Inmarsat


geostationary satellites and relayed to a Land Earth Station. This information
is passed directly to a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre. #

189.4

In contrast to a current generation COSPAS-SARSAT EPIRB which may need


to await a satellite pass for detection to occur, detection of an activated
Inmarsat EPIRB is possible without delay.

189.5

It is unlikely that Inmarsat EPIRBs will be approved for use on Australian


vessels.

119

120

Appendixes

Appendix 1

Qualifications Examination Syllabi


EXAMINATION SYLLABUS FOR THE MARINE RADIO OPERATORS
CERTIFICATE OF PROFICIENCY (MROCP)
A candidate will be required to:
1. Demonstrate a practical knowledge of GMDSS sub-systems and equipment which is
appropriate to vessels operating in Australian waters on which a radio installation is not
compulsory under international agreements. Specifically, MF/HF and VHF radiotelephony
equipment with digital selective calling (DSC) facilities, and emergency position indicating
radio beacons of the 406 MHz and 121.5/243 MHz type.
2. Demonstrate an ability to use MF/HF and VHF radiotelephony and digital selective calling
(DSC) operating procedures, particularly those relating to distress, urgency and safety.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of simple maintenance practices required to keep the marine
radio equipment specified in (1) in good working order, including the repair of minor faults.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the regulations applicable to ship stations equipped with
radiotelephony and digital selective calling facilities.
5. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the Australian marine search and rescue system.

ALARM SIGNALS
Radiotelephony Alarm Signal (51)

DISTRESS SIGNALS
Digital selective calling

Frequencies for DSC distress alerts (73.1,73.2, 73.3, 73.5, 73.7). Priority, circumstances of use,
and authority to transmit (77.1). Transmission of DSC distress alert procedures (77.2, 77.4, 77.5,
77.7). Acknowledgment of receipt of DSC distress alert on 2187.5 kHz and VHF (78.1, 78.2,
78.3). Acknowledgment of receipt of DSC distress alert on 4207.5 kHz and higher frequencies
(79.1, 79.2, 79.3, 79.4). Transmission of a DSC distress alert relay (80.1, 80.2, 80.3, 80.4, 80.5).
Cancellation of an inadvertent DSC distress alert (82.1, 82.2).
Radiotelephony

Priority of distress, circumstances of use (53). Authority to transmit (54). MF/HF/VHF frequencies
for distress (55.1, 55.2). Distress signal, call and message (56, 57, 58). Distress position
information (59.1). Obligation to acknowledge distress messages and acknowledgment message
(60, 61). Distress traffic (62). Control of distress traffic (63). Resumption of restricted and normal
working (64, 65). Transmission of distress message by station not in distress, circumstances and
message (66).

URGENCY SIGNALS
Digital selective calling

Circumstances of use, authority to transmit (83.1) Frequencies and procedures (73.1, 83.2, 83.3,
83.4, 83.5).
Radiotelephony

Circumstances of use, authority to transmit (67.2, 67.3, 67.4) Urgency signal and message and
frequencies (67.1, 67.5. 67.6)

122

SAFETY SIGNALS
Digital selective calling

Circumstances of use (84.1) Frequencies and procedures (73.1, 84.2, 84.3, 84.4, 84.5, 84.6)
Radiotelephony

Circumstances of use (68.2). Safety signal and message (68.1, 68.3, 68.4)

GENERAL REGULATIONS
Ship station licence (6.3, 6.8, 6.12). Authority of master (8). Secrecy of communications (10).
False or deceptive distress or urgency calls (12). Unnecessary transmissions (13.2). Log
keeping (14.1). Avoidance of interference (15). Ship station identification (17.1, 17.2, 17.4, 17.5,
71.1, 71.2). Information for maritime communication and coast stations (18.1, 18.2).

MARITIME COMMUNICATION, COAST RADIO AND LIMITED COAST STATIONS


Definition of maritime communication station and services provided (21). Identification of
maritime communication stations (23). Medical advice (27). Definition of coast radio station and
services provided (27b.3, 27b.4). VH services provided by State/NT (27c.1, 27c.3). Definition of
limited coast station and services provided (28 - 1st sentence only, 29). Hours of operation of
limited coast stations (30.1).

GENERAL OPERATING PROCEDURES


Concept of digital selective calling (69.4, 69.5, 69.6, 69.7, 69.8, 69.9, 69.10). DSC call formats
(76.1, 76.2). Information in a DSC alert (72.1). Test transmissions (36.1, 36.2). Control of
communications (37). Purpose of calling and working frequencies (38.1, 38.2). Calling
frequencies (39.1, 73.3, 74.4). Radiotelephony calling procedures (42). Replying to
radiotelephony calls (44.1, 44.3). Difficulties in establishing communications by radiotelephony
(47.1, 47.3, 47.4). Radiotelephony silence periods, times, purpose and frequencies (48.1, 48.2,
48.3, 48.4, 48.5). Monitoring of distress and calling frequencies (49.1, 75.1, 75.2, 75.7).
Phonetic alphabet (41.1, App 4 excluding the figure code).

PUBLIC CORRESPONDENCE COMMUNICATIONS


Auto Seaphone (99.1). Auto Seaphone 999 service (103.1, 103.2, 103.3).

EMERGENCY POSITION INDICATING RADIO BEACONS


Important notes at start of chapter 7. Description, purpose (106.1, 106.2). Types of EPIRB,
methods of detection and location (107.1, 107.2). COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system (108.1).
Geographical limitations to detection of 121.5/243 EPIRBs by satellites (111.4). Global detection
of 406 MHz EPIRBs (115.4). Identification and registration of 406 MHz EPIRBs (116.1, 116.3).
On-air testing of EPIRBs prohibited (118.3). Inappropriate activation of EPIRBs (120.1, 120.3).

MARINE RADIOCOMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT


Three types of marine radio equipment (125). Approximate ranges and relative
advantages/disadvantages 126.1, 127.1, 127.2, 128.1, 128.2). Radio propagation at VHF
(130.2). Radio propagation at MF and HF (132.2, 132.3, 132.5, 132.6). Major parts of radio
equipment (133). Transceiver controls (137.1). Single sideband mode (138.2). Series connection
of lead acid cells (143.1, 143.2). Essential battery maintenance (144.3, 145.1, 145.2, 146.1,
146.3, 147.1). Measurement of capacity (147.4). Specific gravity measurement (148.1, 148.2,
148.3). On/off load voltage (149.1, 149.3). Battery hazards (151). Antenna faults (154).
Transceiver faults (155). Power supply faults (141.4, 156).

SEARCH AND RESCUE (SAR)


SAR coordination centre location and operator, responsibilities for SAR coordination for small
vessels (121.3,121.4). Resources available to State police forces (121.5).

123

EXAMINATION SYLLABUS FOR THE MARINE RADIO OPERATORS VHF


CERTIFICATE OF PROFICIENCY (MROVCP)
A candidate for the Marine Radio Operators VHF Certificate of Proficiency will be required to:
1. Demonstrate a practical knowledge of GMDSS sub-systems and equipment which is
appropriate to vessels operating in Australian waters on which a radio installation is not
compulsory under international agreements. Specifically, VHF radiotelephony equipment with
digital selective calling (DSC) facilities, and emergency position indicating radio beacons of
the 406 MHz and 121.5/243 type.
2. Demonstrate an ability to use VHF radiotelephony and digital selective calling (DSC)
operating procedures, particularly those relating to distress, urgency and safety.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of simple maintenance practices required to keep the marine
radio equipment specified in (1) in good working order, including the repair of minor faults.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the regulations applicable to ship stations equipped with
VHF radiotelephony and digital selective calling facilities.
5. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the Australian marine search and rescue system.

DISTRESS SIGNALS
Priority of distress, circumstances of use (53). Authority to transmit, (54, 77.1)
Digital selective calling

VHF channel for DSC distress alerts (73.1 - VHF channel only, 73.3, 73.5, 73.7). Transmission of
a DSC distress alert procedures (77.2, 77.4, 77.5, 77.7). Acknowledgment of receipt of DSC
distress alert on VHF channel 70 (78.1, 78.2, 78.3). Transmission of a DSC distress alert relay
(80.1, 80.3, 80.4, 80.5). Cancellation of an inadvertent DSC distress alert (82.1, 82.2).
Radiotelephony

VHF channels for radiotelephony (55.1 & 55.2 - VHF channels only). Distress signal, call and
message (56, 57, 58). Distress position information (59.1). Obligation to acknowledge distress
messages and acknowledgment message (60, 61). Distress traffic (62). Control of distress traffic
(63). Resumption of restricted and normal working (64, 65). Transmission of distress message
by station not in distress, circumstances and message (66.1, 66.2, 66.3, 66.4, 66.6).

URGENCY SIGNALS
Digital selective calling

Circumstances of use, authority to transmit (83.1) Frequencies and procedures (73.1 - VHF
channel only, 83.2, 83.3, 83.4, 83.5).
Radiotelephony

Circumstances of use, authority to transmit (67.2, 67.3, 67.4) Urgency signal and message and
frequencies (67.1, 67.5. 67.6)

SAFETY SIGNALS
Digital selective calling

Circumstances of use (84.1) Frequencies and procedures (73.1 - VHF channel only, 84.2, 84.3,
84.4, 84.5, 84.6)
Radiotelephony

Circumstances of use (68.2). Safety signal and message (68.1, 68.3, 68.4)

GENERAL REGULATIONS
Ship station licence (6.3, 6.8, 6.12). Authority of master (8). Secrecy of communications (10).
False or deceptive distress or urgency calls (12). Unnecessary transmissions (13.2). Log
keeping (14.1). Avoidance of interference (15). Ship station identification (17.1, 17.4, 17.5, 71.1,
71.2). Information for maritime communication and coast stations (18.1, 18.2).

124

MARITIME COMMUNICATION, COAST RADIO AND LIMITED COAST STATIONS


Definition of maritime communication station and services provided (21). Identification of
maritime communication stations (23). Medical advice (27). VHF services provided by State/NT
(27c.1, 27c.3). Definition of limited coast station and services provided (28 1 - 1st sentence only,
29). Hours of operation of limited coast stations (30.1).

GENERAL OPERATING PROCEDURES


Concept of digital selective calling (69.4, 69.5, 69.6, 69.7, 69.8, 69.9, 69.10). DSC call formats
(76.1, 76.2). Information in a DSC alert (72.1). Test transmissions (36.1, 36.2). Control of
communications (37). Purpose of calling and working frequencies (38.1, 38.2). Calling
frequencies (39.1 - VHF channels only, 74.4). Radiotelephony calling procedures (42). Replying
to radiotelephony calls (44.1, 44.3). Difficulties in establishing communications by
radiotelephony (47.1, 47.3, 47.4). Radiotelephony silence periods, times, purpose and
frequencies (48.1, 48.2, 48.3, 48.5 - VHF channel only). Monitoring of distress and calling
frequencies (49.1, 75.2, 75.7). Phonetic alphabet (41.1, App 4 excluding the figure code) .

PUBLIC CORRESPONDENCE COMMUNICATIONS


Auto Seaphone (99.1). Auto Seaphone 999 service (103.1, 103.2, 103.3).

EMERGENCY POSITION INDICATING RADIO BEACONS


Important notes at start of chapter 7. Description, purpose (106.1, 106.2). Types of EPIRB,
methods of detection and location (107.1, 107.2). COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system (108.1).
Geographical limitations to detection of 121.5/243 EPIRBs by satellites (111.4). Global detection
of 406 MHz EPIRBs (115.4). Identification and registration of 406 MHz EPIRBs (116.1, 116.3).
On-air testing of EPIRBs prohibited (118.3). Inappropriate activation of EPIRBs (120.1, 120.3).

MARINE RADIOCOMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT


VHF marine radio equipment (127.1, 127.2). Radio propagation at VHF (130.2). Major parts of
radio equipment (133). Transceiver controls (137 - those marked with l only). Series connection
of lead acid cells (143.1, 143.2). Essential battery maintenance (144.3, 145.1. 145.2, 146.1,
146.3. 147.1). Measurement of capacity (147.4). Specific gravity measurement (148.1, 148.2,
148.3). On/off load voltage (149.1, 149.3). Battery hazards (151). Antenna faults (154.1, 154.2,
154.3, 154.4 ). Transceiver faults (155). Power supply faults (156).

SEARCH AND RESCUE (SAR)


SAR coordination centre location and operator, responsibilities for SAR coordination for small
vessels (121.3,121.4). Resources available to State police forces (121.5).

EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MARINE SATELLITE


COMMUNICATIONS ENDORSEMENT (SATCOM)
Candidates require an understanding of:

The concepts underlying the Inmarsat satellite system, including location of satellites, global
coverage, ocean regions, network coordination and control stations and land earth stations.

The worldwide rescue coordination centre (RCC) network and automatic routing of distress
messages.

Candidates require a detailed knowledge of:

Transmission and reception of distress alerts.

The procedures to be used should a false distress alert be inadvertently transmitted.

Transmission and reception of priority alerts.

125

The Enhanced Group Calling system for reception of Maritime Safety Information.

Candidates require a knowledge of:

126

The functionality of Inmarsat type A, B, C, E and M equipment.

Antenna stabilisation and shadows.

The messaging facilities provided by Inmarsat C.

Logging-in and logging-out of Inmarsat C.

Two digit code safety services.

Interfacing with navigational equipment and manual position updating of Inmarsat C.

Authorised users of SafetyNET.

How to perform testing of equipment to ensure functionality of Inmarsat C equipment.

Radiation hazards associated with Inmarsat equipment installations.

Appendix 2

SUGGESTED FORMAT FOR RADIO LOG BOOK PAGE

Date and Time

Station/MMSI from

Station/MMSI to

Details of Calls, Signals & Distress Working

Frequency/Channel

127

APPENDIX 3

FREQUENCIES FOR USE BY SHIP STATIONS


All frequencies are carrier frequencies. In the case of single sideband (SSB)
transmissions, the assigned frequency is 1.4 kHz higher.
Table 1. Distress, Safety and Calling Frequencies (for use by all vessels)
Carrier Frequency
(Tx/Rx) & Channel No.

Communicating with

Purpose

2182 kHz
2187.5 kHz

Limited coast and ship stations


Limited coast and ship stations

Distress, safety and calling


Distress & safety only, DSC

4125 kHz

Maritime communication*, limited coast** and ship


stations
Maritime communication, limited coast station and
ship stations
Maritime communication*, limited coast station** and
ship stations
Maritime communication, limited coast station and
ship stations
Maritime communication*, limited coast station** and
ship stations
Maritime communication, limited coast station and
ship stations
Maritime communication*, limited coast station and
ship stations
Maritime communication, limited coast station and
ship stations
Maritime communication*, limited coast station and
ship stations
Maritime communication, limited coast station and
ship stations

Distress & safety only

27.88 MHz (Ch 88)


27.86 MHz (Ch 86)
156.800 MHz (Ch 16)
156.375 MHz (Ch 67)
156.525 MHz (Ch 70)
2112 kHz ***
4620 kHz ***
2524 kHz ****

Limited coast and ship stations


Limited coast and ship stations
Limited coast** and ship stations
Limited coast and ship stations
Limited coast and ship stations
Limited coast and ship stations
Limited coast and ship stations
Limited coast and ship stations

Distress, safety and calling


Distress, safety and calling (supp to Ch 16)
Distress, safety and urgency calls
Distress, safety and calling (supp to Ch 16)
Distress, safety and calling, DSC
Safety of vessels and persons
Safety of vessels and persons
Safety of vessels and persons

156.300 MHz (Ch 6)

Ship and aircraft stations

Coordinated search and rescue

156.650 MHz (Ch 13)

Ship stations

Internship, safety of navigation

121.5 MHz
243 MHz

Earth stations via satellites, aircraft


Earth stations via satellites, aircraft

EPIRBs
EPIRBs

406.025 MHz

Earth stations via satellites

EPIRBs

1530-1545 MHz
1626.6-1646.5 MHz

Coast earth and ship earth stations via satellites


Coast earth and ship earth stations via satellites

Inmarsat systems
Inmarsat systems

4207.5 kHz
6215 kHz
6312 kHz
8291 kHz
8414.5 kHz
12 290 kHz*****
12 577 kHz
16 420 kHz*****
16 804.5 kHz

*
**
***

128

Distress & safety only, DSC


Distress & safety only
Distress & safety only DSC
Distress & safety only
Distress & safety only, DSC
Distress, safety and calling
Distress & safety only, DSC
Distress, safety and calling
Distress & safety only, DSC

Maritime communication stations do not provide aural monitoring of these frequencies, but may continue
to use them for establishing communication with ship stations.
It is intended that these frequencies are monitored by stations set up by Governments of the States and
the Northern Territory. See section 4a for more information.
Professional fishing vessel frequency. Use by other classes of vessels restricted to safety of vessels and
persons

**** Pleasure vessel frequency. Use by other classes of vessel restricted to safety vessels and persons.
***** Calling on the frequencies 12 290 and 16 420 kHz will end on 31 December 2003. The alternative carrier
frequencies 12 359 and 16 537 kHz can be used for calling. (See the note at the start of Chapter 2 for more
information).

Table 2. Inshore Boating Service Frequencies


Carrier Frequency (Tx/Rx) & Channel No.

Communicating with

Purpose

27.90 MHz (Ch 90) *


27.91 MHz (Ch 91) *

Limited coast stations


Limited coast stations

Calling and working


Calling and working

27.94 MHz (Ch 94) *

Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and working

27.96 MHz (Ch 96)

Ship stations

Calling and working

27.98 MHz (Ch 98)

Limited coast, ship and mobile


stations

Calling and working by safety


organisations

1715, 1725, 1775, 2008, 2032,


2436 kHz*

Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and Working

* Use restricted to communications with limited coast stations operated by an organisation of which the
licensee is a member, and to intership communications with other members.

Table 3. Yachts and Pleasure Vessels Frequencies


Carrier Frequency (Tx/Rx) & Channel No.

Communicating with

Purpose

2284 kHz

Ship stations in pleasure vessels

Calling and working

2524 kHz *

Limited coast and ship stations in


pleasure vessels

Calling and working

156.675 MHz (Ch 73)

Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and working

156.625 MHz (Ch 72)


156.875 MHz (Ch 77)

Ship stations
Ship stations

Calling and working


Calling and working

* Communications on 2524 kHz with limited coast stations restricted to those concerning the safety of
vessels and persons.

Table 4. Professional Fishing Vessel Frequencies


Carrier Frequency (Tx/Rx) & Channel No.

Communicating with

Purpose

2112 kHz

Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and working

2164 kHz

Ship stations

Calling and working

4535 kHz*
4620 kHz *

Limited coast and ship stations


Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and working


Calling and working

27.72 MHz (Ch 72)


27.82 MHz (Ch 82)

Limited coast and ship stations


Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and working


Calling and working

156.575 MHz (Ch 71)

Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and working

156.625 MHz (Ch 72)


156.875 MHz (Ch 77)

Ship stations
Ship stations

Calling and working


Calling and working

* Intership use restricted to communications concerning safety of vessels and persons

129

Table 5. Port Operations Frequencies


Carrier Frequency (Tx/Rx) & Channel No.

Communicating with

Purpose

156.425 MHz (Ch 68)


156.550 MHz (Ch 11)
156.600 MHz (Ch 12)
156.700 MHz (Ch 14)
156.975/161.575 MHz (Ch 79)
157.000/161.600 MHz (Ch 20)

Limited coast stations


Limited coast stations
Limited coast stations
Limited coast stations
Limited coast stations
Limited coast stations

Calling and working


Calling and working
Calling and working
Calling and working
Calling and working
Calling and working

156.450 MHz (Ch 9)


156.500 MHz (Ch 10)
156.650 MHz (Ch 13)

Limited coast and ship stations


Limited coast and ship stations
Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and working


Calling and working
Calling and working

156.300 MHz (Ch 6)


156.400 MHz (Ch 8)
156.625 MHz (Ch 72)

Ship stations
Ship stations
Ship stations

Calling and working


Calling and working
Calling and working

Table 6. Commercial Vessel Frequencies


Carrier Frequency (Tx/Rx) & Channel No.

Communicating with

Purpose

1715 kHz*
1725 kHz *
1775 kHz *
2008 kHz *
2032 kHz *
2436 kHz *

Limited coast and ship stations


Limited coast and ship stations
Limited coast and ship stations
Limited coast and ship stations
Limited coast and ship stations
Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and working


Calling and working
Calling and working
Calling and working
Calling and working
Calling and working

2638 kHz

Ship stations

Calling and working

27.68 kHz (Ch 68)

Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and working

156.925/161.525 MHz (Ch 78)

Limited coast stations

Calling and working

156.725 MHz (Ch 74)

Limited coast and ship stations

Calling and working

156.300 MHz (Ch 6)


156.400 MHz (Ch 8)
156.625 MHz (Ch 72)

Ship stations
Ship stations
Ship stations

Calling and working


Calling and working
Calling and working

* Use restricted to communications with limited coast stations operated by an organisation of which the
licensee is a member, and to intership communications with other members.

Table 7. On-Board Communications Frequencies


Carrier Frequency (Tx/Rx) & Channel No.
457.525 MHz
457.550 MHz
457.575 MHz
467.525 MHz
467.550 MHz
467.575 MHz

Communicating with

Purpose

Stations on board the vessel

Calling and working

*These frequencies may be used with six simplex channels or three duplex channels.

Table 8. Public Correspondence Frequencies

Ship stations may use those MF/HF and VHF frequencies detailed by their provider for public
correspondence.
Subject to the International Radio Regulations, when operating outside Australian territorial
waters, ship stations may use any maritime mobile frequency authorised by those regulations.
Details may be found in the Manual for Use by the Maritime Mobile and Maritime MobileSatellite Service, published by the International Telecommunication Union.

130

Table 9. VHF Marine Repeater Frequencies


Carrier Frequency (Tx/Rx) & Channel No.
157.025/161.625 MHz (Ch 80)
157.050/161.650 MHz (Ch 21)
157.100/161.700 MHz (Ch 22)
157.075/161.675 MHz (Ch 81)
157.125/161.725 MHz (Ch 82)

Communicating with

Purpose

Limited coast and ship


stations via repeaters

Movement of vessels
Safety of vessels and persons

Table 10. Radar Frequencies Frequency Band


Frequency Band

Purpose

2.9-3.1 GHz
9.3-9.5 GHz

Marine navigation
Marine navigation and radar transponders

Table 11. Broadcast of Weather Information from VMC Australian Weather East at Charleville (QLD)
Frequency Band

Purpose

2201 kHz
4426 kHz
6507 kHz
8176 kHz
12 365 kHz
16 546 kHz

Frequencies used by Maritime communication stations to broadcast weather


forecasts and warnings. The broadcasts are generated by the Bureau of
Meteorology and automatically transmitted on these frequencies

These frequencies are not monitored

* It is intended that this frequency will also be used by stations set up by the States and the Northern Territory
to broadcast navigational warnings. See Section 3a for more information.

Table 12. Broadcast of Weather Information from VMC Australian Weather West at Wiluna (WA)
Frequency Band

Purpose

2056 kHz
4149 kHz
6230 kHz
8113 kHz
kHz*
16 528 kHz

Frequencies used by Maritime communication stations to broadcast weather


forecasts and warnings. The broadcasts are generated by the Bureau of
Meteorology and automatically transmitted on these frequencies

These frequencies are not monitored

* This frequency was not available at the time of publication. check with the Bureau of meteorology, your
State/Territory authority or your local volunteer marine rescue organisation to obtain this frequency.

Table 13. Broadcast of Weather and Ocean charts via Radio Fax from VMC Australia Weather East at
Charleville (Qld)
Frequency Band

Purpose

2628 kHz
5100 kHz
11 030 kHz
13 920 kHz
20 469 kHz

Frequencies used by Maritime communication stations to broadcast weather


and ocean charts via Radio Fax. These charts are automatically generated by
the Bureau of Meteorology.
These frequencies are not monitored

131

Table 14. Broadcast of Weather and Ocean charts via Radio Fax from VMW Australian Weather West at
Wiluna (WA)

132

Frequency Band

Purpose

5755 kHz
7535 kHz
10 555 kHz
15 615 kHz
18 060

Frequencies used by Maritime communication stations to broadcast weather


and ocean charts via Radio Fax. These charts are automatically generated by
the Bureau of Meteorology.
These frequencies are not monitored

Appendix 4

Phonetic Alphabet !"


When it is necessary to spell out call signs and words the following letter spelling table should
be used:

Letter to be transmitted

Code word to be used

Spoken as *

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U

Alfa
Bravo
Charlie
Delta
Echo
Foxtrot
Golf
Hotel
India
Juliett
Kilo
Lima
Mike
November
Oscar
Papa
Quebec
Romeo
Sierra
Tango
Uniform

V
W
X
Y
Z

Victor
Whiskey
X-ray
Yankee
Zulu

AL FAH
BRAH VOH
CHAR LEE or SHAR LEE
DELL TAH
ECK OH
FOKS TROT
GOLF
HOH TELL
IN DEE AH
JEW LEE ETT
KEY LOH
LEE MAH
MIKE
NO VEM BER
OSS CAH
PAH PAH
KEH BECK
ROW ME OH
SEE AIR RAH
TANG GO
YOU NEE FORM or
OO NEE FORM
VIK TAH
WISS KEY
ECKS RAY
YANG KEY
ZOO LOO

* The syllables to be emphasised are underlined.

Figure Code
When it is necessary to spell out figures or marks, the following table should be used:
Letter to be transmitted
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Decimal point
Full stop

Code word to be used

Spoken as **

Nadazero
Unaone
Bissotwo
Terrathree
Kartefour
Pantafive
Soxisix
Setteseven
Oktoeight
Novenine
Decimal
Stop

NAH-DAH-ZAY-ROH
OO-NAH-WUN
BEES-SOH-TOO
TAY-RAH-TREE
KAR-TAY-FOWER
PAN-TAH-FIVE
SOK-SEE-SIX
SAY-TAH-SEVEN
OK-TOH-AIT
NO-VAY-NINER
DAY-SEE-MAL
STOP

** Each syllable should be equally emphasised.

133

Appendix 5

Standard Marine Communication Phrases


English is the language most widely used at sea. To facilitate radiotelephony communications, the
International Maritime Organisation has compiled a vocabulary of frequently used words and phrases in a
book entitled Standard Marine Navigational Vocabulary (SMCP). The complete SMCP is also available at
the IMO website at: http://www.imo.org.
In the interests of accuracy, brevity and clarity it is sound practice for operators to use the standard
vocabulary when possible.
A selection of the standard vocabulary is contained in the following paragraphs.

Message markers
If necessary, messages passed by radiotelephony may be preceded by the following message
markers.
Question

Indicates the following message is of interrogative character.

Answer

Indicates that the following message is the reply to a previous question.

Request

Indicates that the contents of the following message is asking for action
with respect to the ship.

Information

Indicates that the following message is restricted to observed facts.

Intention

Indicates that the following message informs others about immediate


navigational actions intended to be taken.

Warning

Indicates that the following message informs other traffic participants about
dangers.

Advice

Indicates that the following message implies the intention of the sender to
influence the recipient(s) by a recommendation.

Instruction

Indicates that the following message implies the intention of the sender to
influence the recipient(s) by a regulation.

Responses

Where the answer to a question is in the affirmative, say: Yes followed by


the appropriate phrase in full.
Where the answer to a question is in the negative, say: No followed by
the appropriate phrase in full.
Where the information is not immediately available, but soon will be, say:
Stand by.
Where the information cannot be obtained, say: No information.
Where a message is not properly heard, say: Say again.
Where a message is not understood, say: Message not understood.

Miscellaneous phrases

What is your name (and call sign) ?


How do you read me ?
I read you. . .

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

bad
poor
fair
good
excellent

Stand by on channel....
Change to channel....
I cannot read you (pass your message through..../Advise try channel....)

134

I cannot understand you. Please use the Standard Marine


Vocabulary/International Code of Signals.
I am passing a message for vessel....
Correction

I am ready/not ready to receive your message


I do not have channel.... Please use channel....

Repetition

If any parts of the message are considered sufficiently important to need


particular emphasis, use the word repeat, e.g. Do not repeat do not
overtake.

Position

When latitude and longitude are used, these should be expressed in


degrees and minutes (and decimals of a minute, if necessary), north or
south of the Equator and east or west of Greenwich.
When the position is related to a mark, the mark shall be a well-defined
charted object. The bearing shall be in the 360-degree notation from true
north and shall be that of the position from the mark.

Courses

Courses should always be expressed in the 360-degree notation from true


north (unless otherwise stated). Whether this is to, or from, a mark can be
stated.

Bearings

The bearing of the mark or vessel concerned is the bearing in the 360degree notation from true north (unless otherwise stated), except in the
case of relative bearings
Bearings may be either from the mark or from the vessel.

Distances

Distances should be expressed in nautical miles or cables (tenths of a


nautical mile), otherwise in kilometres or metres. The unit should always
be stated.

Speed

Speed should be expressed in knots (without further notation meaning


speed through the water). Ground speed meaning speed over the
ground.

Numbers

Numbers should be transmitted by speaking each digit separately, for


example one five zero for 150

Geographical names

Place names used should be those on the chart or Sailing Directions in


use. Should these not be understood, latitude and longitude should be
used.

Time

Time should be expressed in the 24-hour notation indicating whether UTC,


zone-time or local shoretime is being used.

135

Appendix 6

Contact details
Department of Maritime
Communications
Australian Maritime
College (AMC)
Internet
www.amcom.amc.edu.au
Central Office
Newnham Way
Newnham 7250
PO Box 986
Launceston Tasmania 7250
Freecall 1300 365 262
Telephone (03) 63354885
Facsimile (03) 63354869
Email: amcom@amc.edu.au

Australian
Communications Authority
(ACA)
Internet
www.aca.gov.au
Central Office - Canberra
Purple Building, Benjamin Offices
Belconnen ACT
PO Box 78
Belconnen ACT 2616
Telephone (02) 6219 5555
Facsimile (02) 6219 5353
Central Office - Melbourne
13th Floor, 200 Queen Street
Melbourne VIC
PO Box 13112
Law Courts Melbourne VIC 8010
Telephone (03) 9963 6800
Facsimile (03) 9963 6899
NSW Regional Office (including the
Canberra, Newcastle, and Coffs Harbour
Operations Centres)

Level 2, 55 Clarence Street


Sydney NSW
GPO Box 5295
Sydney NSW 2001
Telephone (02) 9245 4000
Facsimile (02) 9245 4099
Email: nswro@aca.gov.au

136

Northern Australia Regional


Office (including the Darwin and
Townsville Operations Centres)

2nd Floor,
Cairns Commonwealth Centre
104 Grafton Street
Cairns QLD
PO Box 1225
Cairns QLD 4870
Telephone (07) 4048 7444
Facsimile (07) 4048 7400
Email: naro@aca.gov.au
Southern Queensland Regional
Office (including the Rockhampton
Operations Centre)

424 Upper Roma Street


Brisbane QLD
PO Box 288
Red Hill QLD 4059
Telephone (07) 3247 7111
Facsimile (07) 3247 7100
Email: sqro@aca.gov.au
Southern Australia Regional
Office (including the Adelaide, Hobart
and Wodonga Operations Centres)

15th Floor, 200 Queen Street


Melbourne VIC
PO Box 13120
Law Courts Melbourne VIC 8010
Telephone (03) 9963 6988
Facsimile (03) 9963 6989
Email: saro@aca.gov.au
Western Australia Regional
Office
12th Floor, Septimus Roe Square
256 Adelaide Terrace
Perth WA
PO Box 6189
East Perth WA 6892
Telephone (08) 9461 2111
Facsimile (08) 9461 2100
Email: waro@aca.gov.au
Outside Sydney, Brisbane,
Melbourne, Perth and Cairns
areas
(A call to this number can be made
from outside the listed areas and will
be charged at the local rate, except
for mobile phones, which are timed.)
Telephone 1300 850 115

Australian Search and


Rescue (a division of the Australian
Maritime Safety Authority)

GPO Box 2181


Canberra ACT 2601
Email: aussarquery@amsa.gov.au
Emergency Phone Numbers:
1800 641 792
1800 622 153

Bureau of Meteorology
Internet
www.bom.gov.au
Head Office - Melbourne
150 Lonsdale St.
Melbourne Vic
PO Box 1289K
Melbourne Vic 3001
Telephone (03) 9669 4000
Facsimile (03) 9669 4699
National Communications
Manager
Telephone (03) 9669 4224
National Marine Weather
Services Manager
Telephone (03) 9669 4510

Appendix 7

Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations


AAIC

Accounting Authority Identification Code.

ACA

Australian Communications Authority (a merger of between the former


Spectrum Management Agency - SMA and the former Australian
Telecommunications Authority - Austel).

AM

Amplitude modulation.

AMC

Australian Maritime College

AMSA

Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

AusSAR

The operating authority for RCC Australia.

AUSREP

Australian Ship Reporting System.

Ch

Radio channel.

Coast Radio Station

A land station in the maritime mobile service providing terrestrial HF


communications to and from ships at sea. These stations are operated on
behalf of the State/Territory marine authorities. These stations are licensed as
limited coast stations. References in the text to limited coast stations should
be taken to include these stations as well, unless otherwise specified. (See
section 3a).

COSPAS-SARSAT System A satellite-aided search and rescue system based on low-altitude, near polar
orbiting satellites and designed to locate emergency position indicating radio
beacons transmitting on the frequencies of 121.5 and 406.025 MHz.
CQ

General call to all stations. Frequently used in Morse transmissions. May also
be used in radiotelephony.

De

"from......" (used to precede the name or identification of the calling station).


Frequently used in Morse transmissions. May also be used in radiotelephony.

DSC

Digital Selective Calling. A digitised alerting technique used between stations


in the marine service.

Duplex Frequencies

Different but paired frequencies used for transmission and reception.

EGC

Enhanced Group Calling.

EPIRB

Emergency position indicating radio beacon.

Geostationary Satellite

A satellite whose period of revolution is equal to the period of rotation of the


Earth and whose circular and direct orbit lies in the plane of the equator, that is
a satellite which remains approximately fixed relative to a position on Earth.

GHz

Gigahertz (1 000 000 000 hertz). A measurement unit of radio frequency.

GPS

Global Positioning System. A satellite-based system for calculating positions


anywhere on the Earth's surface.

GMDSS

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.

HF

High Frequency (3 to 30 MHz).

Hz

Hertz. A measurement unit of radio frequency.

H3E

Radiotelephony using amplitude modulation, single sideband, full carrier - the


compatible mode. Often referred to as "AM". Permitted only on 2182 kHz.

Inmarsat

International Maritime Satellite Organisation.

ITU

International Telecommunication Union.

137

J3E

Radiotelephony using amplitude modulation, single sideband, suppressed


carrier. Often referred to as "SSB".

km

Kilometre/s (0.54 of a nautical mile).

kHz

Kilohertz (1000 hertz). A measurement unit of radio frequency.

knots

nautical miles per hour.

kW

Kilowatt (1000 watts). A measurement unit of radio power.

LCS

Limited Coast Station.

LES

Land Earth Station.

Limited Coast Station

A land station in the maritime mobile service providing terrestrial


communications to and from ships at sea. These differ from the Australian
Maritime Communication Stations in the services they provide.

Local User Terminal (LUT) A ground receiving station which receives data from COSPAS and SARSAT
satellites, calculates the position of the beacon and forwards the resultant
information to search and rescue authorities.

138

Maritime Communication

One of the two major Australian land stations in the maritime mobile service
providing terrestrial communications to and from ships at sea. Overseas,
stations providing the same services as Maritime Communication Stations may
be called coast stations.

MID

Maritime Identification Digit. A three figure group included as part of a MMSI to


indicate the station's country of location or, in the case of a ship, its country of
registration.

MMSI

Maritime Mobile Service Identity. A unique nine digit group required as


electronic identification by stations using digital selective calling techniques.

MHz

Megahertz (1 000 000 hertz). A measurement unit of radio frequency.

MF

Medium Frequency (300 to 3000 kHz).

MRCC

Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre.

MSI

Maritime safety information - a term used in the GMDSS to describe distress


alerts, navigational warnings, meteorological warnings and forecasts and other
important safety information for vessels.

NCS

Network Coordination Station.

Nm

Nautical mile/s (1.85 km).

RCC Australia

Rescue Coordination Centre located in Canberra. Operated by AusSAR.

Rx

Receiver or receive frequency.

SAR

Search and Rescue.

SART

Survival craft radar transponder. Also known as a Search And Rescue


Transponder.

SES

Ship Earth Station.

Single Frequency

The same frequency used for transmission and reception (simplex).

SOLAS Convention

Safety Of Life At Sea Convention as adopted by the International Maritime


Organisation and accepted by contracting governments.

SSB

Single sideband.

USB

Upper sideband.

TAFE

Technical And Further Education, College of.

Telstra

Telstra Global Satellite and Radio Services.

Tx

Transmitter or transmit frequency.

UTC

Coordinated Universal Time (replaced Greenwich Mean Time as the world


standard in 1986).

VHF

Very High Frequency (30 to 300 MHz).

Index

Deceptive or false distress, urgency or safety


signals 12
Difficulties in establishing communications 47

Subject-Paragraph
a
AAIC 158
Acknowledgment of receipt of distress
message/alert 61, 78, 79
Acknowledgment of receipt of radiotelegram 93
Alarm signal, radiotelephony 51
Alarm signal, navigational warning 52
Alphabet, phonetic App. 4
Amplitude modulation (AM) 50, 137, 138
Antenna, function, faults and care 134, 140, 154
Anti-collision radar transponders 163
AMVER system 160

Digital selective calling, call format 76


Digital selective calling, cancellation of inadvertent
distress alert 82
Digital selective calling, contents of alert 72
Digital selective calling, description of technique
69
Digital selective calling, distress alert 77
Digital selective calling, distress alert
acknowledgment 78, 79
Digital selective calling, distress alert relay 80, 81
Digital selective calling, equipment 70
Digital selective calling, frequencies 73, 74
Digital selective calling, identification 71
Digital selective calling, safety alert 84
Digital selective calling, urgency alert 83
Digital selective calling, watchkeeping 75

AUSREP system 123


Australian Register of Ships 157
Australian ship reporting system 123
Authority of the master 8, 54, 77, 83, 173, 181

Distress call radiotelephony 57


Distress call and message, authority to transmit
54

Auto Seaphone service 99 - 104

Distress call and message, radiotelephony


frequencies 55

Avoidance of interference 15

Distress message radiotelephony 58

b
Battery, maintenance 144 - 150

Distress message radiotelephony,


acknowledgment of receipt 61

Battery, connection in parallel and series 143

Distress message radiotelephony, transmission by


vessel not in distress 66

Battery, hazards 151

Distress, imposition of silence 63

Battery, specific gravity 148

Distress, procedure when distress traffic ended


64, 65

Broadcasts by maritime communication and coast


stations 26, 46

Distress signal, misuse of 56


Distress traffic, control of 63
Distress traffic, delegation of control 63

Call from unknown station 47

Documents to be held on board 20

Calling frequencies, radiotelephony 38, 39

Duplex transmission 97, 139

Calling procedures, radiotelephony 42

Call signs, ship's 16


Call signs, maritime communication and limited
coast 23, 31

Eligibility for operators' certificates 3

Cancellation of radiotelephone call 97

Emergency position indicating radio beacons


(EPIRBs) 106 - 120

Cancellation of inadvertent distress alert 82, 181

Enhanced Group Calling 185

Certificates of proficiency 1 - 5

EPIRBs, detection and location by aircraft 110,


114

Certificates of proficiency, production of 9, 157


Coast Radio Stations 27a-27c

EPIRBs, detection and location by satellite 111,


115

Coast stations, foreign 159

EPIRBs, identification of 406 MHz 116

Communications, secrecy of 10

EPIRBs, inappropriate activation 120

Control of radiotelephony distress working 63

EPIRBs, servicing 118

Control of routine working 37

EPIRBs, stowage 119

COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system 108

Examination for operators' certificates 1, 2, 3, 4

Counting of words in radiotelegram 91

Examination syllabi App. 1

Certificates of proficiency, replacement 3

139

Log keeping, requirements 14

False, distress, urgency or safety signals 12

Loss of person overboard 51

Faults, antenna 154

Loss of operators' certificates 3

Faults, power supply 156


Faults, transceiver 155
Figures, transmission of 41, App. 4
Foreign coast stations, details of 159
Frequencies, radiotelephony calling 38, 39
Frequencies, distress, urgency and safety 55, 67,
68, 73
Frequencies, guide to use of App. 3

m
Maritime communication stations, control of
working 37
Maritime communication stations, identification 23
vlocations 22
Maritime communication stations, service
provided 21

Frequencies, licence restrictions to use 6

Maritime communication stations, watchkeeping


24

Frequencies, working 40, 74

Maritime Mobile Service Identities 71

g
Global Maritime Distress and Safety System,
Foreword

Maritime Identification Digits 71


Master, authority of 8
MAYDAY 56
MAYDAY RELAY 66
Medical advice 27, 161

Hours of service, maritime communication


stations 24, 25

Meteorological information and warnings 21, 26,


68, 185

Hours of service, limited coast stations 30

MF/HF radio equipment 125, 128


MF/HF radio equipment, expected range 128, 132

i
Identification of maritime communication stations
23

Misuse of distress signal 12


Modulation, amplitude 50, 137, 138

Identification of maritime communication and


coast stations 31

Navigational warnings 21, 26, 68, 185

Identification of ship stations 16, 17

Navigational warning signal 52

Identification, transmission without, forbidden 17

Normal and restricted working during distress 63

Information for coast and limited coast stations 18

Inmarsat Organisation 165


Inmarsat A equipment 169

Obligation to accept distress calls 53

Inmarsat B equipment 169

"On demand" radiotelephone service 98

Inmarsat C equipment 176

Operators' certificates 1 - 5

Inmarsat Enhanced Group Calling 185

Inmarsat M equipment 188


Inmarsat EPIRBs 189

PAN PAN 67

Inspection of operators' certificates 9, 157

Particular person radiotelephone calls 97

Inspection of ship stations 9, 157

Phonetic alphabet App. 4

Interference, avoidance of 15

Port, use of radio transmitting equipment in 19

International Maritime Satellite Organisation


(INMARSAT) 165

Power, minimum to be used 15

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)


Foreword, 1

Preamble of radiotelegram 91

International Telecommunication Union,


publications 159

Propagation of radio energy


129 - 132

l
L-band EPIRBs 189
Licence, ship station, obligation to obtain 6, 7

Preparation of radiotelegram 91
Priority of distress calls 53

PRU-DONCE 64

q
Qualifications, operators 1 - 4

Licence, inspection 6, 9, 157

Limited coast stations, categories 28

140

Limited coast stations, hours of operation 30

Radar transponders 163

Limited coast stations, identification 31


Limited coast stations, services provided 29

Radiation hazard, satellite communications


equipment 175, 184

Log book, sample page App. 2

Radiocommunications, secrecy of 10

Radio energy propagation 129 -132

Weather bulletins 26

Radiotelephone calls 99 - 104


Repetition of distress messages 58

Working frequencies radiotelephony 38, 40, App.


3

Repetition of routine calls 43

27 MHz radio equipment 125, 126

Reply, and call procedures, radiotelephony 42

27 MHz radio equipment, expected range 126, 131

Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC) 108, 120,


121, 122, 123
Restricted working during distress 63, 64

s
Safety alert, digital selective calling 84
Safety signal and message 68
Satellite communications services 165 - 189
Search and rescue in Australia 121 - 123
Search and rescue radar transponders 163
Secrecy of communications 10
SECURITE 68
SEELONCE DISTRESS 63
SEELONCE FEENEE 65
SEELONCE MAYDAY 63
Ship stations, identification of 16, 17
Ship stations, inspections of 9, 157
Silence periods, radiotelephony 48
Single sideband mode of transmission 137, 138
Standard marine vocabulary App. 5
State and NT HF and VHF Stations 27a-27c
Survival craft radar transponders 163

t
Testing equipment on air 15, 36, 118
Time signals 162
Traffic lists 46, 90, 96
Transceiver controls 137
Transmissions without identification 17
Transmissions, unnecessary or deceptive 12, 13
Twentyseven MHz radio equipment 125, 126
Twentyseven MHz radio equipment, expected
range 126, 131

u
Unknown call, procedure 47
Unnecessary transmissions 13
Urgency alert, digital selective calling 83
Urgency signal and message 68

v
VHF marine repeaters 32, 33, 34
VHF radiotelephone service 99 - 104
VHF, expected range of transmissions 127, 130
VHF, radio equipment, advantages and
disadvantages 127

w
Watchkeeping hours, maritime communication
and coast stations 24, 30
Watchkeeping, ships, distress and calling
frequencies 49, 75

141